Drones That Work for Food, a Self-Landing Plane, and More News This Week


Look, up in the sky! It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s … your burrito being carried by a six-rotor drone from the delivery service UberEats! This week, the now-everything-transportation company unveiled its newest drone, which Uber says should make its first delivery in San Diego next summer. Or at least, it’s really hoping it might. As we point out, drones might be what’s needed to save the questionable food delivery model. Also in the sky this week: Our reporter, who used a new self-landing technology to bring a $2 million business jet safely back to ground, even after its pilot faked a heart attack. This is not the first self-landing tech, we report, but among the most capable, even though it’s supposed to be used only with at least one non-incapacitated, experienced pilot supervising it. (Many airplanes are supposed to fly with two.)

Back on the ground this week, we talked to emergency management experts about how to pull off a safe wildfire-related evacuation and learned how much tech companies are willing to spend to make sure their workers aren’t classified as full-time employees. It’s been a week; let’s get you caught up.

Headlines

Stories you might have missed from WIRED this week

  • WIRED Science reporter Matt Simon talks to a behavioral neuroscientist about why her team stuck a bunch of rats behind the wheels of tiny, homemade cars.

  • Lyft beats Wall Street’s expectations on its third-quarter results. But the company, and other tech giants like Uber, DoorDash, and Instacart, are still spending beaucoup bucks to ensure their drivers will stay independent contractors in California.

  • The delicate art—and evolving science—of wildfire evacuations.

  • “We’re flying about 5,000 feet above rural New York in a Cirrus Vision Jet when the pilot has what appears to be a heart attack,” or, that time our reporter tested Garmin’s new self-landing-airplane technology.

  • Self-driving experts say Elon Musk has tackled a real challenge with the rollout of Smart Summon, a Tesla feature that’s supposed to beckon the EVs to their drivers in (private!) parking lots and driveways.

  • Uber unveils its new Eats drone, the latest futuristic tech meant to lift the company to profitability.

  • Ford is bringing a much, much bigger screen to your car.

  • Tesla has a new solar roof on offer. It says this one’s really going to work.



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