Fewer Wrecks, Grounded Planes, and More Car News This Week

Even in the midst of a pandemic, never doubt the world’s ability to surprise. This week, we tracked some remarkable trends. Serious crashes are, blessedly, down in California , according to a new analysis—people aren’t really traveling after that whole shelter-in-place thing. While delivery robots (and the companies that built them) are trying their best to pitch in right now, not all are ready for showtime . Oh, and Elon Musk went on a tear this week, calling shelter-in-place orders “facist” even as he celebrated Tesla’s strong first quarter.

It’s been a week. Let’s get you caught up.

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Stories you might have missed from WIRED this week
  • In February, the cruise ship Diamond Princess captivated the world as it docked in Japan with coronavirus-infected passengers on board. Here’s the inside story of the ship—3,711 people who became subjects in a life-and-death quarantine experiment.
  • Delivery robot companies are trying to help humans get their groceries and food without going outside. But the companies’ tech and business models aren’t quite ready for world domination .
  • Silver linings? A new study finds that California lockdown restrictions reduced crashes that kill or seriously injure people by 50 percent.
  • Airlines are struggling to stay alive during the pandemic, and experts say keeping them around will require some painful sacrifice .
  • Jaguar’s director of design for the post-pandemic world.
  • And this week in Tesla: The electric-car maker posts a surprising profit , Elon Musk agitates for an end to shelter-in-place orders (against public health officials’ recommendations), and then he maybe violates an SEC settlement ? Always a trip.

Extremely Expensive Collision of the Week

Airbus and Boeing are airplane manufacturing rivals, and it’s rare to see the two companies hanging out together. Much less slamming together, as two planes built by the airplane-makers did this week at Doha Hamad International Airport in Qatar. Extremely strong winds smacked a parked A350-900 and a 787-8 into each other.

It appears no one was hurt in the collision, and it’s unclear how much damage was sustained by the airplanes. Regardless: Ouch!

Stat of the Week: 48 Percent

The share of the US airline fleet that domestic carriers had idled, as of April 27—2,965 aircraft in all. That number comes from lobbying group Airlines for America, which also reports that passenger volumes are down 97 percent compared with last year.

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