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 …

YouTube’s ‘Shitty Robot’ Queen Made Her Own Tesla Pickup Truck

YouTuber Simone Giertz is known as the queen of "shitty robots," the kind of robots that make a mess of chopping vegetables, serving soup, cutting hair, writing holiday cards, and wiping your nether regions. Her inventions are clever, the robots intentionally excessive and comically inept. Hilarity ensues; Giertz curses, to the chagrin of her advertisers. But she keeps churning out machines as well as videos, exploring a variety of building projects in her San Francisco workshop—even as she battles a brain tumor. Which makes Giertz’s newest project even more remarkable—and functional. It marks a kind of turning point for Giertz, who says she’d like to focus more on building cars, and not the shitty kind. Today, she revealed an electric …

A Fatal Tesla Autopilot Crash, Rising Methane Levels, and More News

A cruise in a self-driving Tesla turned deadly, the air taxi of the future has taken flight, and climate change is speeding up. Here's the news you need to know, in two minutes or less. Today's Headlines A new report on a fatal Tesla crash looks grim A new report from the National Transportation Safety Board reveals that a Tesla crash in March marked the fourth person to die in an Autopilot-related incident. The car hit a truck on the highway while driving itself, sheering the roof off the car and killing the driver—a crash that was eerily similar to an earlier one in May 2016. Yet Tesla CEO Elon Musk continues to promise that Tesla cars will be fully …

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, …

Tesla Is Losing Money Again As Deliveries Decline

2019 has been rocky for electric-auto maker Tesla: It announced it would start rolling out Model 3 sedans priced at $35,000, then made it more difficult to order them. It said it would close all of its showrooms, then said it would keep some open—and raise prices to compensate. CEO Elon Musk predicted that 1 million of its fully self-driving robotaxis would roam the country by next year, even though it has yet to complete its autonomous technology. And Musk continued to tussle with the US Securities and Exchange Commission over his Twitter habit. The roller coaster continues: On Wednesday, Tesla said it had snapped its two-quarter streak of profits, by posting a $702 million loss for the first quarter …