This Week in the Future of Cars: Make It Work!

Building the future of transportation is, by definition, a ton of work. You can’t just start cranking out production cars in your backyard, or launching hyperloops, or digging holes. You need entire teams of engineers, reams of designers, visionaries and scientists and bureaucracy experts to boot. This week, we prepped to cover the annual, ultra fancy Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, where the greatest car buffs get ready to show off their latest dreams. And we got a few interesting peeks into their future roadmap. Porsche restorers imitating Formula 1 cars; electric enthusiasts envisioning future elegance; giant carmakers wondering how 3-D printing fits into manufacturing. Yes, people made their labor evident this week.

Plus, we learned more about Tesla’s legal struggz, Drive.ai’s plot to teach robocars how to communicate with humans, and a radar company that wants autonomous vehicles to start looking down. It’s been a week! Let’s get you caught up.

Headlines

  • When you’re navigating a car through a tricky bit of traffic, the last thing on your mind is the stuff underneath what’s underneath its wheels. But that’s where all the interesting things live, according to the the MIT scientists behind the radar startup WaveSense. Senior writer Jack Stewart reports on the company, which says it has come up with a new technology—first used in the military—that will help self-driving cars identify exactly where they are in the world based on soil density, tree roots, topography, and road infrastructure. Heads down!
  • As the autonomous vehicle company Drive.ai tests its self-driving software in Frisco, Texas, it’s also working on another big, complicated problem: teaching the robot to communicate with humans. Transportation editor Alex Davies gets the deets from the company’s designer, who explains how big, mounted screens might help people feel more comfortable around the nascent tech.
  • Oh, Tesla. The electric carmaker’s enigmatic, captivating CEO got the company into a bit of a spot earlier this month, when his Twitter habits became the target of an SEO probe. But that’s just one of many legal headaches facing Elon Musk & His Company right now. I compiled the greatist hits.
  • What kind of bus terminal does $2.26 billion get you? WIRED’s own Adam Rogers takes a gallop around San Francisco’s new Salesforce Transit Center and finds a beautiful building with not enough clear signage—or commonsense integration with the city it’s meant to serve
  • Meanwhile, I journeyed to Detroit for a tour of General Motors’ sprawling Warren Tech Center and its rapid prototyping lab. There, I learned that 3-D printing just might be the future of building production cars. Well, at least small parts of them.
  • Meet the result of legendary Porsche 911 restorer Singer Vehicle Design’s latest collab: a high gloss white 911 with yellow interior trim and the soul of a Formula 1 car. How does one cut 1,000 pounds and double the horsepower of a pretty, pretty Porsche? You’ll have to read Jack’s piece to find out.
  • Infiniti’s single-seater Prototype 10, its electric concept timed for this year’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, says, “I care about the Earth,” and “I am very fancy,” and also, “Please leave me alone.”
  • OK, so maybe Bugatti has already sold all 40 of its $5.8 million Divo Supercar. At least you’ll be able to recognize the monster—which hits top speeds of 236 mph—by its classic Bugatti touches, including the horseshoe-shaped grille and scoop-shaped doors.
  • Going for its share of the Pebble Beach news cycle, Mercedes showed off the EQ Silver Arrow concept, a modern homage to its 1937 W 125 race car. It too has room for just a driver, who sits in the center of the car, and gets to play with an augmented reality race system.

(Anti-)Car Anthem of the Week

Twitter user Juan Barnett, who goes by @DCCARGEEK, uncovered a pretty little ditty from ‘round 1907, penned in the pages of an auto-focused magazine. Sure, it’s more an ode to the worst of cars, than the best. Still: Everyone, sing!

My auto, ‘tis of thee

Engine of delivery—

Of thee I sing!

Car for which I have sighed

Car that its makers pride

Let all that wish to ride,

Full oil can bring.

Required Reading

News from elsewhere on the internet

  • Do you like your news roundups with a side of news roundup? The Verge rolls out a cheat sheet (and podcast segment) for Elon Musk news. Catch up with your fave poem-tweeting, music-beefing, Instagram-quitting electric car CEO right here.
  • The Wall Street Journal reports that at least 16 Tesla suppliers have filed mechanic’s liens against the company since last October, raising the question: Can the electric carmaker afford to pay its suppliers? Tesla says this is part of standard negotiations with its contractors and subcontractors.
  • Waymo opens an office in Shanghai, and is poised to challenge the homegrown autonomous vehicle developers at Baidu.
  • Uber appoints ex-Merrill Lynch exec Nelson Chai as CFO. This is nice news for its IPO prospects in 2019, even as it posted a $891 million loss in its second quarter.
  • Uber filled another long-empty position this week, appointing former National Security Agency lawyer Matt Olsen as chief security officer. Olsen replaces Joe Sullivan, fired by then-new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi last fall after the company failed to disclose a huge hacking and security breach.
  • Lyft and Aptiv announce they’ve given 5,000 self-driving rides in Las Vegas since they launched a service there in May.
  • Shanghai-based electric carmaker NIO—you know, (one of) the Chinese Tesla(s)—files for initial public offering. If the company succeeds in raising the $1.8 billion it says it will, NIO’s will the fourth-largest US IPO this year.
  • Hark! Scooter companies launch a charm offensive.

In the Rearview

Essential stories from WIRED’s past

The Concours d’Elegance may draw all the fancy folks, but the real fun is happening at a lower rent gathering just down the road. Last year, Alex took us to the Concours d’Lemons, where 160 clunkers competed for “Worst in Show”.

Original Article : HERE ; This post was curated & posted using : RealSpecific

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