HeadlinesStories you might have missed from WIRED this week
- For all Facebook’s efforts to connect people around the world, new research from Princeton, NYU, and the social media giant itself shows that in New York City, friendships form along subway lines .
- Let the elbow wars end in peace: Colorado-based Molon Labe has received FAA certification for a staggered seat design that makes the middle seat a comfort zone and gives everyone their own place to rest their arms. The company has already locked down its first (unnamed) customer.
- You use Waze to predict where you’ll get stuck in traffic and cut your stress levels. Turns out that data can also be used to predict where crashes will happen —and cut emergency response times.
- It’s been four decades since American Airlines invented the frequent flier mile—and now the idea has hit the ground. Along with Uber and Lyft, public transit agencies around the country are launching rewards programs to attract and keep riders .
- Norway has so many electric cars, wandering its streets is like seeing the future . And now the Scandinavian country invites you, tourist, to come for a ride.
- The US Army is on the hunt for a new light attack and scout helicopter, and Sikorsky thinks its funky, fast, and nimble S-97 Raider is the chopper for the job.
- When Elon Musk poo-poohs lidar for self-driving, he cites cost as a key weakness. Now, Luminar has introduced the Iris, a laser scanner it plans to sell to automakers for just $500 apiece .
- Volkswagen announced Friday it’s investing $2.6 billion in Argo AI . The move further tightens its relationship with Ford, and makes it the latest automaker to seek outside help in developing its driverless future.
Drone Hero of the Week
Sure, drones are a fun toy to bring to the beach. But did you know they can also spot sharks hanging out near where your kids are swimming?
Stat of the Week
$189 billionThe amount of money cities will be spending on “smart city” tech by 2023, according to a new report from International Data Corporation. Big ticket items include smart grid and lighting tech, visual surveillance, and better public transit.
News from elsewhere on the internet
- Say goodbye to the Beetle: Now that the iconic Volkswagen Bug has wrapped up production, NPR invites you to share your memories of the little critter.
- The Wall Street Journal reports that millions of Google Maps listing are fake, and it’s good for the search giant’s business.
- Late last week, BMW said CEO Harald Krueger will step down next year, after the automaker frittered away an early lead in electric cars.
- The Chinese company that makes more electric vehicles than anyone else doesn’t look like Elon Musk’s Tesla—at all.
- In a country where driving is effectively mandatory for many, deadly crashes aren’t really avoidable.
- In Manhattan’s West Village, residents are furious over a billionaire’s allegedly illegal commandeering of a prime street parking spot.
- A California bill that would make it harder to classify gig workers as independent contractors takes another step toward becoming law.
- The National Transportation Safety Board finds that a self-driving shuttle crashed in Las Vegas last year in part because its manual controls were locked away
- The Information reports that Elon Musk has shaken up his Autopilot team—the folks charged with delivering “full self-driving” by next year—yet again
In the RearviewEssential stories from WIRED’s canonWhile we wait for the Army to decide which new helicopter design it will take to war, have a look back at that time Tom Cruise insisted on learning to fly a chopper for the latest Mission Impossible—and pulled off a horribly dangerous stunt .
- The irony of politicians' tough talk on Facebook privacy
- You've never seen skate parks like this before
- An aviation pioneer goes all in on electric planes
- Fear, misinformation, and measles spread in Brooklyn
- Change your life: bestride the bidet
- 💻 Upgrade your work game with our Gear team’s favorite laptops , keyboards , typing alternatives , and noise-canceling headphones
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It’s been a week: Let’s get you caught up.HeadlinesStories you might have missed from WIRED this weekWe still don’t know whether the Tesla Model S stopped last month by some quick-thinking cops as its driver snoozed in the front seat was on Autopilot, the electric carmaker’s semi-autonomous highway driving feature.