Elon Musk's ‘Pedo Guy’ Trial, Uber’s Crime Report, and More Car News This Week

Another week, another court case over an Elon Musk tweet. OK, sure, this is only the second time that the Tesla and SpaceX CEO’s love for the platform has gotten him into real legal trouble. But what played out in a Los Angeles federal courtroom this week was certainly weird, and involved Musk justifying the fact that he called a British man named Vernon Unsworth “pedo guy,” which led to a defamation suit. The trial looked to turn on what that phrase actually meant —and it turned in Musk’s favor. On Friday afternoon, the jury found the CEO is not liable for defaming Unsworth.
In more significant news this week, Uber put out its first report on the violence that has occurred on the platform. Also, Waymo’s self-driving service hit the App Store , and the flying car industry wondered whether the public actually wants flying cars . It’s been a week. Let’s get you caught up.

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Stories you might have missed from WIRED this week
  • How physics prevented a man in a panic attack from opening an aircraft door in midair .

  • Elon Musk wins his defamation trial , which may have turned on what “pedo guy” means .
  • Researchers say they’ve taught self-driving car software to distinguish between selfish and considerate human drivers in the space of two seconds.

  • If these confusing word things have got you down, tune into Transportation Editor Alex Davies’ appearance on WIRED’s Gadget Lab podcast , wherein he discusses the latest in Elon Musk, the Cybertruck, and travel tips for the holidays.
  • Uber releases its first-ever safety report , which shows 3,075 incidents of sexual assault related to the platform over the course of 1.3 billion US rides in 2018. Survivor advocacy organizations praise for Uber transparency, but one criminologist calls the report “alarming.”
  • Waymo’s Uber-like self-driving car app makes it to the App Store , though the service is still reserved to the Phoenix metro area.
  • At a secretive summit, flying car leaders ponder how to sell their ideas to the public.

  • Tesla considers cleaning windshields and solar panels with pulsing lasers .
  • How some of America’s busiest, coastal airports are moving to protect themselves from the threat of rising seas .
  • Two in five vehicles sold today are SUVs—and they’re really very bad for the planet.

  • Is New York City’s plan to fight traffic too low-tech?
  • The Air Force is betting that 3D printing can help it keep aging aircraft in service, and it's hosting its own "Olympics" to make it happen.