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HeadlinesStories you might have missed from WIRED this week
- Inside the scrappy startup helping Ford realize its self-driving dreams.
- Our reviewer takes the new VanMoof e-bike on a 130-mile tour of NYC’s potholed streets. It turns out OK !
- WIRED contributor Eric Adams checks in on some of the 250 or so companies working to build flying cars and sees dark days ahead .
- Au revoir to Alphabet company Sidewalk Labs’ ambitious plans to develop a small slice of Toronto in its tech-y image, which were canceled this week .
- As US cities begin to consider reopening, some restaurants wonder : Would it be safer for people to eat out in the street?
- The state of California sues Uber and Lyft , alleging the companies are illegally misclassifying their drivers as independent contractors. State officials say the pandemic, which has left many drivers out of work, accelerated the lawsuit’s timeline.
- Shelter-in-place orders give states opportunities to fix their crumbling road networks. But they make that work more costly, too .
- Volvo announces it will use tech from lidar-maker Luminar to offer completely autonomous highway driving by 2022.
How much would the planet benefit if we just stopped flying ?The startup trying to bring electric trucks to the masses .A new breed of government officials wonder: How might cities build streets for people, not cars ?Uber, Instacart, and the pandemic have exposed deep fault lines in the gig economy—and now people are working with renewed urgency to fix them.
Pronunciation Guide of the WeekPeople who pay attention to the vicissitudes of Tesla CEO Elon Musk know that the man is not always serious on Twitter. So when he announced online that his seventh, and newest, child is named “X Æ A-12 Musk,” I did not necessarily believe him. And yet the billionaire continues to surprise! During an interview with Joe Rogan this week, the once-again father insisted that X Æ A-12 is the kid’s name, even if he may not legally be able to use a name that includes anything beyond the 26 letters of the English alphabet. Musk credited his partner, art pop musician Grimes, with the moniker. (It is unclear whether this is the child’s legal name.) Musk even sounded it out: “Ex-ash-ay-twelve.” Grimes expounds on its meaning right here.
Stat of the Week: 14 PercentThe share of Uber staff laid off this week, as the effects of the novel coronavirus pandemic hit the ride-hail and delivery giant. The 3,700 people worked in recruiting and customer service. Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said he will not take a salary for the rest of the year. The layoffs follow similarly ugly cuts at Lyft—1,000 jobs cut, or 17 percent of its staff—and Airbnb—1,900 cut, or 25 percent of its staff.
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