Hand-Crafted Bentleys, a Climate Bill, and More Car News This Week
Welcome to a sleepy time of year, when the heat drives everyone to lakes or oceans or pools, and no one wants to do anything, really. Unless you’re hanging out in steamy Washington, DC. WIRED Transpo had the scoop on two very DC stories this week. There’s a $287 billion transportation bill wending its way through Congress, with—finally!—some money to fight climate change. (Think electric vehicle charging stations, pedestrian- and cyclist-friendly street design, and flood-proof infrastructure.) And then there’s the small experiment, launched this week, dedicated to taming the wildest place in the District: the curb.
Sleepy, perhaps. Boring, no. It’s been a week. Let’s get you caught up.
Stories you might have missed from WIRED this week
- A big, new federal transportation bill proposes to dedicate some serious money to climate change issues.
- Also in Washington: One startup thinks the lowly curb is the key to fixing America’s urban transportation system, and it has a plan for organizing it.
- How Bentley’s factory in the UK lovingly crafts each luxury car—almost no robots involved.
- If you’d rather get your transportation news through your ears, check out editor Alex Davies’ appearance on WIRED’s Gadget Lab podcast, where he discusses how automakers have adjusted their expectations for self-driving cars.
Robotic Arm of the Week
How does an electric car without a driver top off its charge tank? New Jersey hints at one solution: Its drivers aren’t allowed to pump their own gasoline, which means attendants handle the nozzle-related tasks. A new project from Electrify America and the startup Stable points to another, more complicated one: a robotic arm. The groups plan to open an experimental autonomous electric charging station in early 2020.
Stat of the Week
Consumer confidence in the future of self-driving vehicles, according to a new survey from J.D. Power, which graded on a 100-point scale. Over 5,000 respondents polled online reported they had low opinions of the tech, with the majority (66 percent) saying they have little to no knowledge of self-driving vehicles at all. Read WIRED, people!
News from elsewhere on the internet
- Congress is working on a new autonomous vehicle bill.
- Uber lays off 400 people, a third of its marketing team. It will report quarterly earnings next week.
- Lyft pulls its ebikes from San Francisco once again after reports of a battery fire.
- In Las Vegas, it’s Elon Musk’s Boring Company vs. the monorail.
- Tesla was sued for a fatal Autopilot crash.
- German prosecutors charged a former Audi exec as part of the VW Dieselgate emissions cheating probe.
- Boeing will redesign its 737 MAX flight-control software.
- California might shift high-speed rail funding to transit in Southern California and the Bay Area.
- What crash dummies have to do with women getting injured in car crashes.
- A new study suggests hackers could use connected car tech to freeze traffic.
In the Rearview
Essential stories from WIRED’s canon
Click Here: cheap kanken backpackFrom the dark ages of 2017: Why understanding the street curb is the key to understanding the future of cities.