Space! The finalfrontier! Humankind has gone there a few times now, but nothing has seemed to capture the imagination—or, at least, the American imagination—like the Apollo 11 mission. It happened 50 years ago this week. We celebrated here at WIRED Transpo bywondering what a “moon shot” is these days. And by exploring what went wrong, and what could go wrong in the future, ifour satellite system went down, as Europe’s Galileo did this week. And by learning about anew combat helicopter. And by driving around (digitally) in the newmid-engine Corvette. Hey, you can’t look to the sky all week. Your neck would hurt.
Plus, we talked to researchers who think self-driving delivery robots belong not on the roadbut in the bike lane. It’s been a week. Let’s get you caught up.
Stories you might have missed from WIRED this week
- The Air Force’s new Sikorsky combat rescue helicopter wasbuilt to carry the wounded, not missiles.
- In which Alex Davies drives the hotly anticipatedmid-engine Corvette through a fence. OK, a virtual fence.
- It’s the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, a great time to reflect onwhy “moon shot” isn’t quite the right metaphorfor the complex work of building, say, a self-driving car. How about a moon boom instead?
- Europe’sGalileo satellite outage—which took nearly a week to fix!—is a reminder of how integral navigating systems like GPS are to modern life, and how screwed up everything would be if they went down.
- Big, heavy cars have bedeviled autonomous vehicle development. So when these researchers began to developtheir own food delivery bot, they set their eyes on a new piece of real estate: the bike lane.
- Formula E racing is cool, but the five-year-old electric car event hasan even cooler ulterior motive: spurring development of EV tech that might one day make it to your driveway.
New-moji of the Week
In 2018, Ford made an unusual move for an automotive company. It submitted a proposal to the Unicode Consortium, the official organization thatreviews and approves brand new emoji. This week, an exciting development: Ford’s pickup truck emoji has been shortlisted. If all goes according to plan, you’ll be able to tap out your own blue pickup in texts and tweets in 2020. Ford spent $50,000on the effort, according toThe Atlantic, and designed the ‘moji to echo elements of the Ranger and F-150.
Stat of the Week
The drop in fuel consumption for vehicles using adaptive cruise control, compared to their less-advanced driving cousins. That’s according to astudy released this weekby the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, in collaboration with Volvo. But those savings might be erased, at least partially, ifallvehicles use adaptive cruise control, because it would take each vehicle time to detect speed changes in the ones around them.
News from elsewhere on the internet
- Southwest, American and United Airlinesall delay the returnof the troubled Boeing 737-MAX jet until November.
- Tesla factory workers building the Model 3 saidthey had to take shortcutsto meet aggressive production goals, including using electrical tape to make fast fixes to plastic parts.
- Lyft wins its lawsuit against San Franciscoafter a judge decides its bike-share company, Motivate, has exclusive rights to rent dockedanddockless bikes in the city.
- SomeUber and Lyft drivers were paidto protest a California bill that would threaten those companies’ ability to classify them as independent contractors. Others arefighting for a seatat the negotiating table.
- An investigation from theDetroit Free Pressfinds thatFord knew about defective transmissionsin Focus and Fiesta vehicles when it began to sell the cars.
- Inside the US collapseof Chinese EV company Seres (formerly SF Motors).
- A AAA study finds some car windows arevery difficult to break, even if you’ve got that emergency hammer to hand.
- The Lotus Evija hypercarcharges in just nine minutes.
- AnUber driver reviewsthe new movieStuber. Five stars?
In the Rearview
Essential stories from WIRED’s canon
In memory of the Mercury astronauts who led the way to the Apollo program, peep ouroral historyof the 1983 filmThe Right Stuff.