This week, we talked to people trying to help stem the hurt of the Covid-19 pandemic—with mixed success. One company, Zipline, is using drones to help deliver virus testing supplies and personal protective equipment in Ghana. It has accelerated efforts to bring the approach to the US, though don’t expect to see helper drones in the air before later this year. Farmers, packers, and processors want to get their produce, milk, and meat to consumers, but complex supply chains—and basic economics—are proving hard to hack.
It’s been a week. Let’s get you caught up.
Want to receive this roundup as an email every week? Sign up here!
Stories you might have missed from WIRED this week
- How a WIRED science reporter ended up in Argentina during the coronavirus lockdown—and how she got home.
- Why farmers are leaving crops rotting in the fields as some in the nation go hungry.
- Drones are delivering Covid-19 supplies in Ghana, and the company behind them is hoping to expedite the same approach stateside.
Smart Car Shenanigans of the Week
We’re nostalgic for the Before Times, when car chases could feel like big news. So let’s linger on a Smart Car chase in the Phoenix metro area this week. The police tried to pull the bitty vehicle over several times before giving chase, and ended up deflating its tiny tires with spiked sticks and pulling a pit stop maneuver (!) to finally halt the car. The driver was reportedly arrested for unlawful flight from law enforcement, DUI, and possession of drug paraphernalia and criminal damage; no one was hurt.
Stat of the Week: $59,900
The just-announced cost of the Polestar 2, the all-electric sedan built by the Volvo performance brand to compete with Tesla’s Model S and 3. That’s about $3,000 cheaper than Polestar executives had hoped—good news for the penny-pinching electric enthusiasts among us. (The price may also come down a bit once federal and local subsidies kick in.) Deliveries are slated to start this summer, and like Tesla, Polestar will offer online orders.
News from elsewhere on the internet
- Former Bird employees describe a culture of bro-y bad behavior and financial mismanagement.
- The coronavirus downturn hits autonomous trucking, with layoffs at Kodiak Robotics and Ike.
- RIP Maven, General Motors’ car-sharing and rental service.
- Cruise commits to using 100 percent renewable energy to power its robotaxis.
- Transit workers call for better protection against the Covid-19 virus.
- What public transit can do to survive the pandemic.
- This should have been CloudKitchens’ moment. But Travis Kalanick’s meal prep real estate startup has hit a series of snags.
- Boozehounds using UberEats to get their quarantini on have run afoul of the law.
- Milan wants to turn 22 miles of streets over to cyclists and pedestrians, in one of the more ambitious pandemic-related city redesigns yet.
- Alphabet company Loon is prepping to use its balloons to bring internet connectivity to Kenya. (More on how those balloons work here.)
In the Rearview
Essential stories from WIRED’s canon
From 2015: The deadly global war for … sand.
More Great WIRED Stories
- How a doomed porpoise may save other animals from extinction
- Wait, what’s the deal with sunscreen? Does it work or not?
- The ultimate quarantine self-care guide
- Anyone’s a celebrity streamer with this open source app
- The face mask debate reveals a scientific double standard
- ? AI uncovers a potential Covid-19 treatment. Plus: Get the latest AI news
- ? Upgrade your work game with our Gear team’s favorite laptops, keyboards, typing alternatives, and noise-canceling headphones