A Tesla Security Bug, Levandowski Indicted, and More Car News

It is not so often that our focus on transportation technology forces us to pay attention to, say, a federal courthouse in San Jose, where a man wearing a dark suit and no tie waits to be arraigned for charges that could land him in prison for many years. But that is exactly what happened this week , when a father of this era of automated vehicle technology, the former Uber and Waymo engineer Anthony Levandowski, was indicted on federal charges of trade secret theft. If this sounds like a rerun, it sort of is: The same incidents that spawned this indictment also lead Waymo to sue Uber in 2017, in a case that was later settled for $245 million in Uber equity. Who is this Levandowski character , and why should you care about him? And what happens next ? We’ve got you covered.
Also this week, researchers uncover a Tesla security bug , and Uber and Lyft seemed increasingly desperate to stop a California law that would classify drivers as employees instead of independent contractors. It’s been a week. Let’s get you caught up.

Headlines

Stories you might have missed from WIRED this week
  • A California bill would reclassify many independent contractors as employees—and Uber and Lyft (not to mention other tech companies) are working overtime and spending lots of money to stop it from passing.
  • Researchers found another bug in Tesla’s Model S key fobs that might have allowed hackers to break into cars. The electric carmaker has already pushed out an over-the-air software update to stave off the attack.
  • Ah, the eternal question: You're racing toward a wall. Should you brake hard, or swerve?
  • Former Uber and Waymo self-driving car engineer and exec Anthony Levandowski was indicted for trade secret theft, more than a year after his former employers settled a lawsuit concerning similar charges.
  • What happens next? It may come down to the definition of a “trade secret” .
  • Who is this Levandowski guy anyway? Here’s your primer on how he became the Forrest Gump of the autonomous vehicle industry.
  • Bell’s cargo drone has officially started flying itself .
  • Our writer thinks you’ll love author Jonathan Marrs’ The Passengers, a new techno-thriller novel that takes a fantasy about automated vehicles to its logical conclusion: murder.

Future Train Car Interior of the Week

Amtrak’s high-speed Acela line—one of the oft-struggling national passenger railway’s more profitable lines—is currently undergoing a makeover. Sometime in 2021, 28 brand new trainsets will roll out on the service’s tracks, which run from Boston to Washington, DC. This week, Amtrak released a hint of what riding the new trains will feel like. Get excited for more spacious first class seats, a more stylish looking café car, and pretty roomy bathrooms.

Amtrak

Amtrak

Stat of the Week

73%The share of pickup truck and SUV drivers who are interested in more fuel efficient cars, according to a new survey from Consumer Reports. That sentiment cut across party lines, the survey found, at a time when the Trump administration is pressuring automakers to go along with its plan to freeze fuel economy standards.

Required Reading

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