A Tesla ‘Truckla,’ Robotic Pizza Delivery, and More Car News This Week

Over here at WIRED Transportation, we often talk to and write about people doing big, ambitious things—changing how their local transportation systems work, inventing new technologies, or researching why the world travels the way it does. But we also talk to the tinkerers, the people working on cool projects on the edges. Sometimes that’s more fun. This week, we learned how a dedicated DIY-er DIY-ed a Tesla pickup truck (a “Truckla”), why a robotics company is suddenly very interested in pizza, and how you might top a 22,000-mile trip around the world on a solar-powered plane.

Plus, we learned why Tesla is working on videogames and which country builds the most reliable cars, according to a new survey. It’s been a week; let’s get you caught up.

Headlines

Stories you might have missed from WIRED this week

  • The autonomous-delivery startup Nuro has a new assignment: delivering pizzas in Arizona. (A “chase vehicle” will follow the robot on wheels to make sure it doesn’t do something naughty—or get its Dominos pizza swiped.)
  • Tesla devised a new way to pass the 20 or so minutes it takes to “top off” your car battery: an in-car videogame, which you can play with your actual steering wheel.
  • A prolific YouTuber and reigning queen of “shitty robots” got tired of waiting for Tesla’s electric cyberpunk truck—so she made one herself.
  • Waymo signs international deals with Nissan and Renault—but don’t expect to see self-driving Google cars in France or Japan just yet.
  • One of the guys who flew around the world in a solar-powered airplane is back with a new electric flying machine. It can climb 900 feet per minute, cruise at 125 mph, and stay aloft for 90 minutes on a charge.
  • The unmanned US drone that Iran shot down this week had a wingspan of more than 130 feet, a maximum takeoff weight of more than 16 tons, and a range exceeding 12,000 nautical miles.
  • A new vehicle-quality survey finds that Korean cars—not American, German, or Japanese ones—are the most reliable.

Electric Car Charging Saga of the Week

In which former Mets first baseman and current Mets broadcaster Keith Hernandez discovers that a media truck really can charge a Tesla.

Stat of the Week

0

The number of shared scooters in Nashville, should the city’s mayor get his way. On Friday, Mayor David Briley requested the Metro Council nix the city’s scooter pilot program because of his concerns relating to “visual clutter, improper riding, parking violations and poor rider education.” A vehicle struck and killed a man riding a scooter in the city in May. Briley says he would consider allowing two of the seven companies that currently operate in the city to return after a new permitting process.

Required Reading

News from elsewhere on the internet

  • New York legalizes electric scooters and bicycles, but scooter-share ain’t coming to Manhattan just yet.
  • Uber might acquire data-training company Mighty AI.
  • A study suggests that drivers do not understand the limitations of Tesla’s Autopilot driver-assistance feature.
  • Uber leans into medical transportation.
  • Cruise releases a visualization tool to help the autonomous-vehicle-curious explore self-driving data.
  • Former GM macher Bob Lutz checks out a Tesla Model 3—and likes what he sees!
  • What really happened to Malaysia Airlines flight 370.
  • Automotive writer Davey G. Johnson passed away this month. Here’s a remembrance from someone who helped him build the car internet as we know it.

In the Rearview

Essential stories from WIRED’s canon
The most insane truck ever built—and the 4-year-old girl who commands it.

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