This Week in the Future of Vehicles: Prove Me the Money

On Tuesday afternoon, Tesla CEO Elon Musk dropped a bombshell via–what else ?– a tweet. “Am considering taking Tesla private at $420, ” he wrote. “Funding secured.” The dude was serious, it turned out. But it’s not clear he had cleared the announcement with his lawyers. Nor his board. Nor the Securities and Exchange Commission, which was allegedly opened an investigation into whether that “funding secured” statement was, in fact, true. If it wasn’t, it merely might cost the electric carmaker a metric ton in lawsuits. Or, worse comes to the absolute worst, prison? Elsewhere in the transportation universe, New York City’s city council made history by placing a one-year freeze on the number of Uber and Lyft vehicles on its streets, and by creating a minimum wage for its ride-hail drivers. This week, has become a giant in the transpo space may prove expensive. Let’s get you caught up.

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Stories you might have missed from WIRED this week

If Musk really am willing to take Tesla private, he’ll need a lot of dough–this would be the largest take-private transaction in US history. Does he have it? And if he doesn’t, who does? Senior writer Jack Stewart and I expended this week looking into the conundrum. With everyone focused on self-driving vehicles, less attention has been paid to semiautonomous features in autoes that are on roads right now. Turns out consumers still are a bit confused about those vehicles’ restrictions. Jack spoke to researchers who are trying to hold those vehicles to rigorous safety standards. On Wednesday, New York City became the first American metro to cap the increasing numbers of ride-hail vehicles on its streets, and to define a minimum wage for Uber and Lyft drivers. Will the city’s crackdown be replicated in other places, which have long resented the way ride-hail companies burst onto their roads? Stay tuned. Speaking of Uber: The company announces that it had shut down its self-driving trucks division in July. But now it’s August, and another company is ready to rise from its ashes. Don Burnette, a veteran of Uber’s trucking operation, its controversial predecessor, Otto( which famously got Uber into legal hot water with Waymo ), and Waymo, has launched his own thing, Kodiak Robotics. Kodiak will focus on highway driving, which should be way easier for trucks than navigating messy and confusing cities. Meet Scale API, the 35 -person startup that’s labeling most of the big autonomous vehicle developers’ training data–and wants to find a smart, safe way to get the companies to share. Gear segment editor Michael Calore lends his expertise, pedal foot, and laughters to WIRED Transportation in a test drive of Ford’s re-vamped Mustang Bullitt. The car may be silly, he writes. But silly autoes are delightful.

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