‘Tis the season to pause and take stock. Have you been nice to the cars in your life? The automotive suppliers? The Uber drivers? How about the family? If you’ve got some making up to do, Jack Stewart has you covered, with seven last-minute gift ideas for the auto lover in your life.
Speaking of folks who probably owe some sorrys: Uber capped off its year of suck with the release of a potentially key piece of evidence in its ongoing lawsuit with Waymo. The letter from a former security employee not only alleges Uber employees conspired to steal trade secrets. It also accuses the company of bribery, spying, and hacking competitors. I’ve got the rundown.
This will be our last round-up of the year. Take some breaths, spend some time with the folks (and stuff) you love, and take heart. The VW electric microbus is a thing that exists. If you’re very, very nice, maybe you too can catch a ride (like Jack).
WIRED stories you might have missed this week
- You may have to wait four years to buy the VW Buzz, the electric update of the microbus that gives even those who weren’t around in the ‘60s an acute case of hippie nostalgia. But it’s never too soon to direct the public’s mind away from dieselgate. Jack checked out the Buzz, plus the Crozz (a crossover, due 2020) and the ID (a hatchback, due 2019), and they indeed made him smile.
- Another vehicle made Eric Adams happy this week: the new Jeep Wrangler, which is only the fourth redesign in the car’s history. Eric reports the entire thing has been engineered for adventure, from its pop-on, pop-off windshield, to its big, glove-friendly buttons and knobs, to its six-speed manual transmission.
- If you know someone who adores cars as much as those gents, consider the picks on Jack’s gift guide. A Porsche shelf? A phone charger that looks awfully like the kind that charges your Tesla? How about an AI-powered Hot Wheels?
- Federal investigators have opened at least five—five!—inquiries into Uber’s business this year, and a new bit of evidence in the ride hailing company’s trade secrets dispute with Waymo may have implications for all of them. The evidence, a letter written by the lawyer of a former employee, accuses Uber employees of coming up with protocols to shield documents from regulators and lawyers, stealing trade secrets, bribing public officials, and using deceptive practices to purloin data on competitors’ passengers and drivers. Oh, and then posting a [REDACTED] on the wall to celebrate. Get caught up on the drama here.
Sort-of Hopeful Look into the Future of Transportation of the Week
TransitCenter, a New York-based research and advocacy organization, hooked up with transportation-flavored filmmaker StreetFilms to take a closer look at the traffic choking American cities and come up with a few solutions: congestion pricing, new for-hire vehicle regulations; and smarter approaches to deliveries.
Read more: https://www.wired.com/story/jeep-uber-vw-roundup/