Here’s everything you’ll see at TechCrunch Sessions: Mobility next week

TC Sessions: Mobility is back, and this year we are bringing together the best and brightest founders, investors, engineers and experts on the future of transportation for a two-day, in-person event May 18 and May 19 in San Mateo, California.

An online day will follow on May 20 to give our audience, including those who were unable to attend, a chance to tune in and catch highlights from the live event, network and watch the full sessions. We’re excited to announce VW Group CEO Herbert Diess will discuss his vision for the future of mobility during this online-only portion of the event.

TC Sessions: Mobility will feature speakers on the main stage, a bevy of startup exhibits, demos, networking and a live pitch-off with a pretty sweet prize. We’re excited to give a first look at some of the folks — and vehicles — who will be on our main stage and what we plan to talk about.

Who will be on our stage? We’re glad you’re asked. Let’s start with two vehicles that haven’t had an in-person public debut yet: an electric vehicle that Arrival is building for Uber in the UK and the custom-built Zoox robotaxi. 

Other topics on our list for this year include exploring the opportunities and challenges for urban air companies and cities, the dual paths companies are taking to commercialize autonomous vehicle technology, cybersecurity, micromobility, self-driving trucks and autonomous delivery. New to the agenda, we’re thrilled to add legendary design chief Ralph Gilles of the newly formed conglomerate, Stellantis.

Our guests include Aurora co-founder and chief product officer Sterling Anderson, Motional CTO Laura Major, Nuro co-founder and CEO Jiajun Zhu and Waymo co-CEO Dmitri Dolgov. Then there’s Bonny Simi, who heads up air operations and people at Joby Aviation, and Rebecca Yeung, corporate vice president at FedEx, who is responsible for the company’s robotics and autonomous vehicle initiatives, as well as cybersecurity phenoms Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek with Cruise.

Buy your general admission, student or early-stage startup demo package today before prices increase in a few days. We’ve also recently added two new ways to attend the event; Expo Only and Online Only (May 20) passes ($75 and $45, respectively).

May 18

Turning an AV Innovation into a Product

with Oliver Cameron (Cruise) and Laura Major (Motional)

Autonomous vehicle technology has evolved from the confines of academic research to living labs — aka testing on closed tracks and public roads. Now, a handful of companies, including Cruise and Motional, are trying to turn their innovations into a product that not only has the technical capability to navigate city streets, but is approachable and easy for people to use. Cruise VP of product and former Voyage co-founder Oliver Cameron and Motional CTO Laura Major will cover the technical and deployment challenges to creating a product people can and will want to use.

Delivering the Holy Grail: Safe, Highly-automated Consumer Vehicles for Sale

with Omer Keilaf (Innoviz Technologies)

Sponsored by Innoviz Technologies

Next year top automakers will sell luxury consumer vehicles that include safe, hands-free driving features. Lidar will take these automated driving systems to the next level, and re-establish trust with consumers who stand to benefit from these life-saving technologies. Innoviz Technologies CEO and co-founder Omer Keilaf will discuss the long road to making automotive-grade lidar, in order to help car makers like BMW achieve Level 3 automation for the first time. What’s next? The tech is ready. Now it’s time to integrate it into cars around the world and properly educate consumers so they love, not loathe, automated driving again.

Vehicle Spotlight: Zoox

with Jesse Levinson (Zoox)

Zoox debuted its custom-built robotaxi vehicle in December 2020 in a virtual event. That vehicle has been largely under wraps ever since, with testing occurring in areas away from the public. Now, the Zoox vehicle is ready for an up-close and personal debut at TC Sessions: Mobility. Zoox co-founder and CTO Jesse Levinson will discuss the vehicle, the company’s progress and where we might see Zoox next.

A New Dawn for Delivery

with Jiajun Zhu (Nuro)

Nuro is aiming to revolutionize delivery with the autonomous vehicle technology it has developed, tested and is now beginning to deploy. The company has managed to lock up numerous high-profile partnerships in the process, including with Domino’s and Walmart, not to mention a long list of investors. We’ll sit down with Nuro co-founder and CEO Jiajun Zhu to talk about the company’s path to commercialization, the opportunities and challenges of AV delivery and where the industry — and Nuro — is headed.

The World According to Waymo

with Dmitri Dolgov, co-CEO of Waymo

Waymo, Alphabet’s self-driving arm, has reached significant milestones recently, from launching a robotaxi service in San Francisco to securing partnerships with legacy logistics companies that will help it commercialize autonomous freight. However, challenges remain on all sides — political, technological, commercial and social. Dmitri Dolgov, co-CEO of Waymo, was there from the beginning. As one of the founders of Google’s self-driving car project, which began in 2009 and became Waymo in 2016, he’ll talk us through how far autonomy has come, and how far it still has to go.

How to Land Early-Stage Funding

with Yoon Choi (Muirwoods Ventures), Mar Hershenson (Pear VC) and Gabriel Scheer (Elemental Excelerator)

Spoiler alert: Uber for X is no longer a differentiator. Mobility isn’t a nascent vertical, and sector startups seeking funding should consider that advantage. Investors don’t need to explain the venture-sized opportunity in the transportation industry; instead they want to see contrarian growth — whether that’s a new angle on an old technology, or profitability. TechCrunch is bringing together three venture capitalists — Yoon Choi from Muirwoods Ventures, Mar Hershenson from Pear VC and Gabriel Scheer from Elemental — to talk about their investment strategies, what’s hot and what’s not.

TechCrunch Mobility Pitch-off

with Yoon Choi (Muirwoods Ventures), Mar Hershenson (Pear VC) and Gabriel Scheer (Elemental Excelerator)

The industry’s brightest entrepreneurs will take the stage in front of a live audience and a panel of industry experts, pitching revolutionary technologies.

How to Unlock Profits in Micromobility

with Alex Nesic (Drover AI), Janelle Wang (Acton) and Candice Xie (Veo)

Despite the vast sums of venture capital that has gone into shared micromobility, the industry has yet to reach unit economics favorable enough to turn a profit. But it’s getting close. We’ll sit down with Drover AI’s Alex Nesic, Acton’s Janelle Wang and one other panelist to talk about the new methods, and the new tech, that’s being deployed to help micromobility companies unlock profits.

How Urban Air Fits in Cities

with Gary Gysin (Wisk Aero), Cyrus Sigari (UP.Partners) and Bonny Simi (Joby Aviation)

What will it take to execute urban air mobility operations in cities? TC Sessions: Mobility will sit down with Gary Gysin, president and CEO of Wisk Aero, Cyrus Sigari, co-founder and managing partner at UP.Partners, and Bonny Simi, head of air operations and people at Joby Aviation, to discuss both the challenges and opportunities in urban air mobility and the ecosystem that will need to be created to support it and what it will take to not just launch in cities, but to actually be of value to residents.

The Path to Commercializing Autonomous Trucks

with Sterling Anderson (Aurora Innovation) and Rebecca Yeung (FedEx)

Aurora has been running a pilot program with FedEx to haul goods between Dallas and Houston via self-driving Paccar trucks since September 2021. As with most other autonomous freight pilots, human safety operators are present in the vehicles, but Aurora’s goal is to operate its trucks fully autonomously by the end of next year. We’ll check in with Aurora co-founder Sterling Anderson and FedEx’s head of robotics and autonomous vehicle technology, Rebecca Yeung, and discuss the pilot’s progress and implications for the future of autonomous trucking.

Building AVs for All

with Summer Fowler (Argo AI), Riccardo Giraldi (Zoox) and Alisyn Malek (Coalition for Reimagined Mobility)

As autonomous vehicles creep toward commercialization, a question has started to loom for city planners, urban dwellers and even the companies trying to develop the technology. What does an equitable, accessible and safe AV look and act like? In other words, what is a good AV citizen? Summer Fowler, chief corporate responsibility officer at Argo AI, Riccardo Giraldi, senior director of experience at Zoox and Alisyn Malek, executive director of the Coalition for Reimagined Mobility will discuss how to build an AV for everyone, including the cyclists, pedestrians and human drivers who will share the road with them.

How navigates diverse traffic scenarios and inclement weather globally 

with Shuyang Cheng ( and Yimeng Zhang (

Breakout Session brought to you by

At, we aim to deliver autonomous mobility everywhere by building safe and reliable autonomous driving technology. Since our founding in 2016 in Fremont, California, we have been pioneering autonomous mobility services that benefit global users in five cities across the U.S. and China. With 6.2 million autonomous miles driven,’s core autonomous driving technology enables the “virtual driver” to navigate diverse traffic scenarios and inclement weather smoothly and safely.

Data: Your key to successful autonomous mobility

with Wilson Pang (Appen)

Breakout Session brought to you by Appen

Appen is the Data for AI Lifecycle leader. This session will explore use cases and challenges that our clients see from data sourcing, data preparation and model evaluation by humans. Our experts will discuss and demo the technologies and processes that were used to enable success for both in-cabin experiences and out-of-car data with ADAS systems and autonomous vehicles.

A new sensing paradigm: How GPR uses subterranean maps to enable automated driving in any condition

with Tarik Bolat (GPR)

Breakout Session brought to you by GPR

Automakers and AV companies use GPR’s subterranean mapping and localization platform to deliver a safe automated driving experience without relying on clear lane markings, cooperative weather and lighting, or stable visual landmarks. GPR is expanding where and when consumer vehicles with automated features and AVs can operate, opening new markets and bringing a level of autonomy that can earn the public’s trust. GPR CEO Tarik Bolat will detail how GPR’s product works, how automakers and AV companies are using it today and what it means for the future of high-volume passenger vehicle autonomy, robotaxis and automated freight.

Building a Sustainable Mobile Ecosystem (Roundtable)

with Ritu Narayan (Zum)

With transportation accounting for the largest share of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, there are few business decisions that could make as much of an impact on greenhouse gas emissions as electrifying transportation, particularly mass transit. But for sustainability at this scale, businesses must consider an ecosystem approach to thrive. Drawing from Zum’s expertise in leading the charge to transition school bus fleets to EV, this roundtable will focus on the creative and innovative ways business leaders, investors, professionals and the community at large can work together to achieve a greener future.

Pilotless Flight: How Close Are We to Fully Autonomous Airplanes? (Roundtable)

with Maxime Gariel (Xwing)

Many believe self-flying planes will begin transporting passengers in our lifetime. Do you see yourself as an early adopter of autonomous flight? Join Maxime Gariel, CTO of Xwing, the company leading autonomous aviation, in an engaging discussion where we will explore what it would be like to take your first autonomous flight. Maxime can also share insights to the common misconceptions of autonomous flight, how the technology is currently impacting the aviation market and how close we truly are to commercial autonomous flight.

Next Gen Mobility: Why Software Drives the Future of Vehicle Architecture (Roundtable)

with Joe Speed (Apex.AI)

Vehicles have long been defined by the hardware that powers them, but cutting-edge technologies are carrying mobility into a software-first future. Vehicles with advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) have upwards of 100 computers known as electronic control units (ECUs) operating largely independently from one another. But the transition to connected, autonomous, shared, electric vehicles consolidates that into a small number of powerful computers. This means the computer architecture becomes simpler while the software becomes more complex, which requires a more robust level of software integration than ever before. This is creating hurdles that must be overcome for traditional original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in all industries, including automotive, agriculture, mining, industrial automation and more. This roundtable will discuss: What it’s going to take for industries to launch autonomous vehicles at scale; why industries like agriculture and manufacturing are seeking autonomous and software innovations from the automotive industry and robotics; the steps that must be taken to speed the delivery of the required software and algorithms; and the impact reliability has on autonomous vehicles. For example, if software crashes on your computer it is annoying, but on an autonomous car, farming equipment or manufacturing robot, the result can be devastating.

Zero-emission Aviation — A Roadmap for Hydrogen-powered Flight (Roundtable)

with Dr. Alex Ivanenko (HyPoint)

Aviation produced 2.4% of global CO2 emissions in 2018, which as a country would rank it sixth in the world (between Japan and Germany). Non-CO2 effects, such as warming induced by aircraft contrails and other pollutants, bring aviation’s combined total contribution to global warming to approximately 5%. In this session, we will discuss the factors that have hindered zero-emission flight, as well as the technological roadmap and recent breakthrough innovations that will bring hydrogen-powered airplanes to the skies within the next few years.

Creating Ethical and Inclusive Solutions for Mobility Tech (Roundtable)

with Lisa Mae Brunson (Wonder Women Tech)

This session will explore the opportunities mobility startups and companies have when building ethical and inclusive solutions into the infrastructure of their product, and/or company culture. We’ll deep-dive into an “AMA” style and thoughtful discussion around innovating a multibillion-dollar industry with social innovation in mind. Sponsored by Wonder Women Tech.

The Future of Critical Medical Cargo Deliveries Is Unmanned Aircraft, and It’s Here Today (Roundtable)

with Scott Plank (JSP Ventures)

Healthcare’s complex modes of transportation and chains of custody are in need of innovation. This session will offer a firsthand look at how two companies — MediGO and MissionGO — are currently leveraging autonomous unmanned helicopters to provide safe, efficient, inexpensive, and low carbon footprint transport of critical medical cargo. Participants will learn about and discuss ideas for addressing known and unknown scenarios in which decision-making will take place between autonomous and traditional modes of transportation, as well as ways to provide improved healthcare resource efficiencies (including delivery of blood samples and human transplant organs; healthy, fresh and local foods; and emergency supplies), improve patient outcomes and reduce costs.

From Algorithms to Public Roads: Why a Human-centered Approach to Autonomous Driving Technology Is Needed to Win Hearts and Minds (Roundtable) 

with Amisha Vadalia (Plus)

The development of autonomous truck technology has progressed to a point where it’s no longer a question of if, but how and when it will become commercially available at scale. Amisha Vadalia, Plus’s Senior Director of Operations, will share the different paths companies are taking to develop Level 4 driverless trucks, Plus’s unique evolutionary path to full autonomy, which starts with a commercial product already being being operated by Amazon and others, and a comparison of human-centered technology with systems that are not based on feedback from drivers, fleets and OEMs.

May 19

How Your Startup Should Think About Collaboration, Not Just Capital

with John Du (GM Ventures), Marcus Greer (Capital International Investors), Taylor Ogan (Snow Bull Capital) and Trina Van Pelt (Intel Capital)

The capital markets have a way of distracting even the most scrappy founders. However, as we’re starting to see, a well-priced funding round isn’t a replacement for a well-oiled operation. And startups should think more about strategic opportunities, and collaborations, when giving up those coveted cap table spots. We’re bringing together GM Ventures’ John Du, Snow Bull Capital’s Taylor Ogan and Intel Capital’s Trina Van Pelt to talk about partnerships in the mobility world – especially the ones that you’re probably not thinking about.

A Contrarian View on Deploying Autonomy at Scale

with Austin Russell (Luminar)

Luminar founder and CEO Austin Russell has a different view of how to deploy autonomy at scale from other AV developers in the industry, as well as Tesla CEO Elon Musk. Lidar sits at the center of Russell’s vision, but perhaps not in the way one might think. We’ll dig into Russell’s perspective and his strategy of how to bring autonomous vehicle to the masses at scale — without pulling the human out of the driver’s seat.

From V8s to EVs, Reshaping the Auto

with Ralph Gilles (Stellantis)

Ralph Gilles started at Chrysler in 1992, and he’s still with the company as the Chief Design Officer at the newly-formed conglomerate, Stellantis. His design resume is legendary: The Chrysler 300C, Dodge Magnum, SRT Grand Cherokee, and the SRT Viper. But now he’s leading Stellantis into the electric future, which requires (and allows) for radical new designs. Hear about his design process, and how he’s reshaping the automobile yet again.

The New Passenger Economy, Featuring Live Demo

with Nils Wollny (Holoride)

In anticipation of a future where autonomy is the norm and passengers will seek stimulating entertainment to break up the monotony of a commute, Holoride is offering an in-car VR system that turns every vehicle into a moving theme park. Only the Audi-spinoff isn’t waiting for full autonomy to commercialize its product and bring us into the new passenger economy. Holoride’s VR tech is coming to Audi cars as early as this summer. We’ll sit down with Nils Wollny, co-founder and CEO of Holoride, to talk about what place VR, blockchain, NFTs and crypto currency have in the automotive space.

Securing Today’s Cars and Tomorrow’s Robotaxis 

with Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek (Cruise)

A new era in connected cars is here, and with that comes new security risks. And then there are robotaxis and other autonomous vehicles. Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek, undisputed leaders in the cybersecurity industry, who both hold top security roles at GM-backed self-driving company Cruise, will join us to discuss the dynamic and rapidly changing realm of automotive cybersecurity.

Vehicle Spotlight: Arrival 

with Avinash Rugoobur (Arrival)

Arrival announced last year plans to design and build an affordable, purpose-built electric vehicle for ride-hailing in partnership with Uber in the UK. Before the vehicle enters production, Arrival will show off the first prototype here at TC Sessions: Mobility. Arrival President Avinash Rugoobur will talk about the process of designing and hopefully producing the vehicle, what the EV company is also working on and what may be right around the corner.

Breaking the Luxury Spell: A Journey to Commercializing Safe Autonomy for All

with Jun Pei (Cepton)

Sponsored by Cepton

Dr. Jun Pei founded Cepton in 2016 with the vision of enabling safe, autonomous transportation for everyone. Hands-free, driveway to driveway – lidar promises to make this vision a reality, but only through scale. We’ll hear from Dr. Pei on Cepton’s journey to the industry’s largest ADAS lidar series production award, and what it means for the future of mobility. We’ll also hear from Dr. Pei on lidar’s unique capabilities of adding certainty to perception, key considerations behind scaling lidar for everyday passenger cars and the timeless principles underlying Cepton’s elegant invention.

TechCrunch Mobility Pitch-off

with Victoria Beasley (Prelude Ventures), John Du (GM Ventures) and Sven Strohband (Khosla Ventures)

The industry’s brightest entrepreneurs will take the stage in front of a live audience and a panel of industry experts, pitching revolutionary technologies.

Advancing the Future of Transportation Infrastructure

with Trevor Pawl (Michigan Office of Future Mobility and Electrification) and Shelby Winkler (Cavnue)

Sponsored by Michigan Economic Development Corporation

The future of mobility starts with the next generation of transportation solutions and the infrastructure that keeps them running safely and efficiently. Attendees will hear from some of the most innovative names on opportunities that await when the traditional auto industry collides with high-tech innovations to revolutionize the way we think about our roads. The session will illustrate the need for future-proofing our roads and how a connected and automated vehicle corridor in Michigan is paving the way for a nationwide deployment of tech-enabled roadway. The discussion will feature: Trevor Pawl, State of Michigan Chief Mobility Officer and Shelby Winkler, Senior Vice President of Programs and Operations at Cavnue

Where is My Autonomous Car? 

with Yanbing Li (Aurora), Saswat Panigrahi (Waymo) and Sarah Tariq (Nvidia) 

When it comes to moving people via autonomous vehicles, two paths are beginning to emerge: Robotaxi services and private vehicles with autonomous capabilities. Companies are moving toward commercializing robotaxis by aiming straight for full autonomy. Automakers, on the other hand, are rolling out personal vehicles that have lower levels of autonomy via advanced driver assistance systems today, with the end goal of slowly improving until they can offer personal vehicles with higher levels of autonomous functionality. We’ll sit down with the AV experts to discuss the stumbling blocks to each approach and which might deliver first at a mass scale.

Green Mobility in the Digital World (Roundtable)

with Doug Davenport (ProspectSV)

Everything about mobility is changing, from traditional public transit to ride sharing to a wave of electric vehicles, bikes, and scooters. New mobility requires more than just vehicles – we need on-site power, charging networks, digital platforms to manage fueling, maintenance, logistics, and more. Let’s talk about the technology and market opportunities coming for a better, green transportation system. Sponsored by ProspectSV.

Sustainable Mobility in Emerging Markets: Optimizing People, Planet and Profit through Technology (Roundtable)

with Damilola Olokesusi (Shuttlers)

Emerging economies like Lagos and Abuja, Nigeria, where Shuttlers operates, are famous for exponential population growth. This population growth comes with many challenges, transportation being one of the most prominent. The ever-growing population creates an imbalance where demand for transportation continues to outpace supply by miles. The United Nations (UN) has pointed out that high-technology-driven transportation systems that prioritize sustainability are the solution to common transportation problems in emerging economies. As private transport technology companies like Shuttlers emerge to redefine the way people move by introducing new tech-enabled transport systems and services, it is crucial to focus on long-term transportation sustainability. The conversation around transportation sustainability should focus on how technology can optimize these three key pillars: people, planet and profit. Discussing transportation sustainability at the roundtable (using the highlighted three Ps, also known as the triple-bottom-line model by John Elkington) will help raise awareness and offer solutions to the shortcomings of transportation technology in emerging markets. These shortcomings range from insufficient talent/skill to the issue of carbon emissions, unavailability of modern environmentally friendly transportation infrastructure and maintaining profitability as a startup whilst imbibing the best global practices in transport innovation.

Why You Can’t Build a New EV in Corporate America (Roundtable)

with Sue Ozdemir (Exro Technologies)

Gas-powered cars and motorcycles have been around for more than 100 years. During that time, legacy auto brands and major corporations have gained a wealth of capital and experience in designing, manufacturing, selling and improving ICE models. Now with the push for electrification, that experience is a bit of a crutch. Electrification requires more than just adding a battery to existing ICE models, but a rethink of chassis designs and hard-tooled manufacturing facilities. Such a huge shift in mindset and expertise requires what tech startups have in spades — this includes a penchant for constant innovation, failing fast and thinking beyond “how things have been done” for decades. Corporate America is learning from younger companies that are immersed in the world of electrification and working with the latest technology available. A huge reason why Sue went from being the CEO of Small Industrial Motors at GE to the CEO of Exro was because she couldn’t innovate fast enough or take the amount of risk needed to change the industry from the inside. Sue will share how she now balances her corporate experience and profit-driven business savvy with her tech startup eagerness to move fast and break things to ultimately deliver EVs that drive better, faster and longer at a lower cost.

The Race to Code and Monetize the Curb (Roundtable)

with Regina Clewlow (Populus)

Everyone — from on-demand delivery to scooters to autonomous ridehailing — needs a piece of the curb to operate. We’ll talk about how smart cities are leveraging technology and platforms to manage and price this precious resource to deliver a safer, more sustainable mobility future.

Head to TC Sessions: Mobility for a deeper dive into the future of transportation and to meet the people who are shaping it! Buy your pass now before prices increase! We can’t wait to see you!