Headlines 

Uber Hails a Ride to Wall Street, and More Car News This Week

They’re growing up now! Uber, once the enfant terrible of the tech industry, put on its big kid pants and publicly filed for IPO this week, attempting to prove, once and for all, that it’s got its crap together. Its filing reveals a sprawling company that’s made strides since ex-CEO Travis Kalanick was dropping Boober jokes back in 2014—but one that also has a few big, hulking problems on the horizon, like fighting drivers on employee classification issues and, you know, achieving profitability. Also in transpo people and companies trying…

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Headlines 

Stratolaunch, the World’s Biggest Airplane, Takes Flight

On Saturday morning, exactly 45 minutes after the sun began to rise over the Mojave Desert, the largest airplane ever created—and its record-breaking 385-foot wingspan—took off for the very first time. The aircraft, from the company Stratolaunch, has been eight years in the making. By 2022, the company hopes to use the twin-fuselage, six-engined, catamaran-style aircraft to launch satellite-bearing rockets into space. "All of you have been very patient and very tolerant over the years waiting for us to get this big bird off the ground, and we finally did…

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Headlines 

Audi’s New Electric-Car Factory Goes Green

You’ve heard the story: Exchange your old-fashioned internal combustion engine for an electric one, and change the world. Turns out it’s more complicated than that. While driving an electric car generally saves on emissions, building one is way more energy-intensive than building a regular gasoline-based vehicle. It’s costly, energy-wise, to procure and process lithium for batteries and to create complex, lightweight materials, like carbon fiber, that help EVs extend their range. One analysis from the science advocacy organization Union of Concerned Scientists found that manufacturing an electric vehicle results in…

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Headlines 

Boeings 737 Crash, Teslas Model Y, and More News This Week

Here at WIRED Transportation, we get to write about all sorts of stuff. Self-driving cars. Hyperloops. Bike lane design. Subway maps. The occasional man dressed up as a car seat for an apparently legitimate purpose. You get the idea. So it’s rare when a mere one or two topics dominate our pages for an entire week. But that’s what happened over the past seven days. The first of those stories started Sunday morning, when a Boeing 737 MAX 8 jet operated by Ethiopian Airlines crashed a few minutes after taking…

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Headlines 

Tesla no longer lists Model 3 price with gas savings but only in Germany

The Model 3's cost can look a lot lower at a glance.Image: tesla Just like when Germany wasn’t too pleased with Tesla’s naming choice for its semi-autonomous feature (confusingly called Autopilot), the country’s automotive industry group is calling out the American electric vehicle company for misleading pricing online for the Model 3 sedan. This week Reuters reported that the Wettbewerbszentrale nonprofit association that oversees fairness in the auto industry asked Tesla to include the full price of the car and remove the price based on gas savings and tax incentives…

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Headlines 

Ford’s navigation system replaces addresses with what3words locations

Which three-word destination are you headed?Image: ford / what3words If you search for “Golden Gate Bridge” in your navigation app, you might end up in the dead center of the bridge. With what3words, which just teamed up with Ford, you can just say “Lance.String.Crate” to get directions to the visitor parking center instead. Confused? Here’s how what3words works: The system breaks the world down into 57 trillion square spaces instead of numbered addresses on roads. Each square is labeled with three simple words. This works well for rural places, unmarked…

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Headlines 

Google Maps lets you search for drug disposal sites

A bag of pills like this from a drug take back event can be dropped off at locations pulled up on Google Maps.Image: Brianna Soukup/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images In response to the opioid epidemic, Google Maps is adding a search feature meant to help people get rid of unwanted drugs. Starting Thursday in a seven-state pilot, the navigation app will pull up drug stores and other sites that will dispose of drugs. You can type in “drug drop off” or “medication disposal” and nearby results from 3,500 nationwide…

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Headlines 

Tesla rival Rivian gets big investment from Amazon

An electric truck that's just as tough? Amazon hopes so.Image: rivian Amazon is on a spending spree. Last week the online retailer invested in self-driving vehicle startup Aurora. On Friday, it announced it was the main investor in an upcoming all-electric truck and SUV company, Rivian. Amazon leads a group investing $700 million in the company, which debuted itsR1T pickup and R1S SUV at the LA Auto Show in November. Amazon wants better delivery and logistics, making the electric technology that gives Rivian vehicles more than 400 miles of range…

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Headlines 

Tesla cars with 121 miles of range can go ‘Back to the Future’

Outatime.Image: Tara Ziemba/Getty Images Where we’re going, we don’t need roads…  The latest Tesla Easter egg discovered this weekend is expertly hidden deep within the electric car’s mobile phone app. It’s making Tesla-owning Back to the Future fans scream”Great Scott!”  The 1985 classic sci-fi film starring a very young Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly and Christopher Lloyd as Doc Brown is all about time traveling in a classy old DeLorean. Tesla’s Model S, X, and 3 aren’t time machines, but they get close. SEE ALSO: Tesla’s fart mode is…

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Odds and Ends 

Dutch Bike Company Puts TV on Packaging, Reduces Shipping Damage 80%

When Dutch bike company Vanmoof started shipping orders, they soon found upwards of 25% of their products were being damaged during delivery. For a startup company selling a $3,000 electrified bike, the unexpected costs were threatening to cripple the young upstart. That’s when the company’s founders came up with an ingenious solution: put a photo of a TV on the packaging and hope the couriers would treat the packages more delicately. According to the company, it worked! And damages due to shipping have plummeted 80% ever since (even after being…

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Headlines 

Daimler brings in the truck equivalent of Tesla’s Autopilot

Freightliner Cascadia is Daimler's most autonomous truck.Image: Daimler AG Daimler trucks are going autonomous — eventually. For now, Level 2 (L2) partial automation will have to suffice. The vehicle company behind Mercedes-Benz cars announced Monday at CES 2019 that its new Freightliner Cascadia big-rig will include higher levels of robotic driving. The semi-autonomous trucks will start production in July in North America. It’s not fully self-driving, but it’s pushing the trucking industry deeper into an autonomous mode.  SEE ALSO: Uber fired Anthony Levandowski. Now he’s back with a self-driving truck…

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Headlines 

Elon Musk couldn’t stop tweeting in 2018

Musk has tweets for everything.Image: mashable composite: ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images / twitter What better way to really understand Elon Musk’s year as Tesla CEO than to look back at his Twitter. It’s been a bumpy and very busy year for the electric car executive. He went from the depths of despair to turning a profit for Tesla for the first time — with a few lawsuits and scathing news reports thrown in for good measure. He even took a few puffs of marijuana on a podcast. His most famous tweet of…

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Headlines 

Elon Musk admits he shouldn’t have tweeted so much

Elon Musk goes into his wild 2018.Image: DAVID MCNEW/AFP/Getty Images Tesla, SpaceX, and the Boring Company CEO Elon Musk made an appearance on Recode’s podcast and he talked to the publication’s Kara Swisher about tweeting, building a car company, a cyberpunk Tesla pickup truck, electric scooters, and the race to self-driving cars. Plus a whole lot more, like the eccentric billionaire’s likely demise on Mars. In an hour-plus conversation the tech journalist hit on a lot of hot topics and Musk didn’t evade or skip around most answers. He admitted…

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Headlines 

Faraday Future’s electric car plans are in peril

Faraday Future's electric car dreams are in danger.Image: Andrej Sokolow/picture alliance via Getty Images That Faraday Future 91 electric vehicle that seemed so promising just a few years ago will probably never get made for the masses — and definitely not by 2019. The California-based would-be Tesla rival has suffered many setbacks, but none as severe as those announced this week. In a statement sent Tuesday, Faraday Future confirmed that two execs, Pete Savagian and Nick Sampson, have left the company. “We wish them the best of luck in their…

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Headlines 

Anyone can go for a ride in these self-driving cars

Try out a self-driving car for free in Arlington, Texas.Image: drive.ai If you’re visiting Arlington, Texas, and have been itching to try out an autonomous vehicle, you’re in luck.  Starting Friday, three Drive.ai self-driving cars (and eventually five) will be available to ride — for anyone, not just office workers, city officials, or a select group of “early riders.” Back in July, Drive.ai piloted the autonomous Nissan NV200 vans in Frisco, Texas. The Arlington deployment will be around for the next year. “This is a not a quick demonstration,” CEO…

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