A Tesla Truckla, Robotic Pizza Delivery, and More Car News This Week

Over here at WIRED Transportation, we often talk to and write about people doing big, ambitious things—changing how their local transportation systems work, inventing new technologies, or researching why the world travels the way it does. But we also talk to the tinkerers, the people working on cool projects on the edges. Sometimes that’s more fun. This week, we learned how a dedicated DIY-er DIY-ed a Tesla pickup truck (a “Truckla”), why a robotics company is suddenly very interested in pizza, and how you might top a 22,000-mile trip around the world on a solar-powered plane. Plus, we learned why Tesla is working on videogames and which country builds the most reliable cars, according to a new survey. It’s been …

Waymo Goes Global With Renault-Nissan Partnership

Waymo has signed an agreement to work with Renault and Nissan on issues surrounding self-driving car technology, the companies said Thursday. The partnership, which the companies call a “first step,” doesn’t currently include immediate plans to launch Waymo self-driving vehicles in France or Japan. Instead, the companies will work together to “research commercial, legal and regulatory issues related to driverless transportation-as-a-service offerings in France and Japan,” according to a joint press release. What exactly does that mean? Clearly, Waymo brings the tech expertise, and Renault and Nissan bring the manufacturing know-how, plus some insider knowledge about local laws and politics. Both want to figure out how to one day turn autonomous vehicles into a viable, money-making business. But like most …

Cruise’s $1 Billion Infusion Shows the Stakes in Self-Driving Tech

For an industry that has yet to scale a commercial product, the folks building self-driving cars sure have raised a lot of money. The latest eye-popping investment comes via Cruise, the San Francisco-based autonomous vehicle unit that is mostly owned by General Motors. The company announced Tuesday that it had raised $1.15 billion, at a valuation of $19 billion—roughly one-third of the valuation of GM, despite not having sold a single car. The infusion comes from one new investor, the global asset management firm T. Rowe Price Associates, plus existing partners GM, Honda, and the Softbank Vision Fund, which poured $2.25 billion into the self-driving unit a year ago. Cruise says it has raised $7.25 billion in the past year, …