An Origin Story, Smart Headlights, and Other Car News
The future comes in fits and starts, and we buckled up and went through a few this week. Cruise, General Motors’ self-driving unit, hosted a big party in San Francisco to launch Origin, an electric six-seat, steering-wheel-free vehicle that it says is the future of shared autonomy. The vehicle will go into production … sometime, and we still have plenty of questions. Our reporters also learned about little vehicle tweaks coming down the pike that might make your life a bit better: smart headlights that won’t blind your fellow drivers, and a system from Hyundai that might cancel out some of the more unpleasant sounds of the road.
Plus, we looked at what it might take to make public transit better for women everywhere, and why you might not see emotional support rabbits on your next flight. It’s been a week; let’s get you caught up.
Want to receive this roundup as an email every week? Sign up here!
Stories you might have missed from WIRED this week
The global, techified fight against snarge—a silly word for the scary thing that happens when a bird hits an airplane midair.
Finally, the federal government and safety groups settle on a way to talk about advanced driver-assistance tech.
Before transit agencies can make service work for women, they need more data.
Hyundai’s new Genesis GV80 SUV comes with a sound system for canceling road noise to nix that loud tire roar.
The feds might rein in emotional support animals on flights.
There’s a litany of issues at Boeing, which said this week that the 737 MAX probably won’t be approved for flight again until the middle of the year.
Meet Origin, the self-driving shuttle of the future, which Cruise says it will really put into production sometime soon.
The future of laser headlights, it turns out, is very bright—and much more friendly to human eyes.
Superstar Bike Lover of the Week
The Lakers’ LeBron James has teamed up with Lyft and the YMCA to offer 16- to 20-year-olds access to Lyft-operated bike-share programs, including New York’s CitiBike, the Bay Area’s Bay Wheels, and Capital Bikeshare in Washington, DC. James has long been a low-key bike commuter and has been known to cycle to games.
Stat of the Week: 61%
The share of total miles traveled by ride-hail vehicles without a passenger in the car in 2018, according to an estimate released by the California Air Resources Board last month. The report also estimated that the ride-hail fleet—Uber, Lyft and others—emitted 50 percent more CO2 than the statewide vehicle fleet average, even though the cars are generally newer, include fewer light trucks, and are more fuel-efficient than those in the statewide fleet.
News from elsewhere on the internet
Bloomberg profiles the weird world of Tesla Twitter bears, and the legal wranglings that spooked one off the platform—sort of.
Government scientists have questioned whether the Trump administration’s proposed rollback of emissions standards would, as claimed, make US roads safer.
Uber experiments with letting some California drivers set their own fares—another strategy to evade the state’s new employee classification law.
Waymo says it’s testing self-driving trucks and minivans in Texas and New Mexico.
Uber and Lyft: Welcome, finally, to Vancouver.
A study finds the shipping and energy industry will have to spend $1 trillion to meet the International Maritime Organization goal of cutting ship emissions by 2050.
E-scooter startups grew quickly—and now they’re figuring out how to operate their supply chains.
Maybe the Boeing 737 MAX will return to service sooner than Boeing had hoped?
A section of San Francisco’s major artery, Market Street, is going private-car-free starting next week.
In the Rearview
Essential stories from WIRED’s canon
From 2016: Our profile of Cruise, the hot new startup acquired by General Motors.
More Great WIRED Stories
- Chris Evans goes to Washington
- What Atlanta can teach tech about cultivating black talent
- The display of the future might be in your contact lens
- Scientists fight back against toxic “forever” chemicals
- All the ways Facebook tracks you—and how to limit it
- 👁 The secret history of facial recognition. Plus, the latest news on AI
- 🏃🏽♀️ Want the best tools to get healthy? Check out our Gear team’s picks for the best fitness trackers, running gear (including shoes and socks), and best headphones