If experiments on the ground are cool, experiments in the sky are cooler. And so we can count ourselves extra icey this week, as we got to see to high-flying studies. First, we chatted with aviation company UAV Turbines, which is building mini, watermelon-sized jet engines. Pourquoi? Turns out 500- to 1,000-pound drones need power to stay aloft, too, and the batteries that power smaller flyers aren’t always up to the task. Then we spoke to the designers and executives behind Rolls-Royce’s transformation of a Qantas jet that was still flying passengers last week into a very expensive flying testbed for experimental jet engines.
Also this week, our intrepid reporter tried out a jet lag-prevention app, and Volvo announced its electric XC40 Recharge is the capstone in the automaker’s plan to radically cut emissions. It’s been a week, let’s get you caught up.
Stories you might have missed from WIRED this week
Remember when all those companies told us that personal car ownership was done with? Turns out that prediction isn’t coming true. At all.
Most jet engine designers test their creations on the ground. Rolls-Royce is spending $70 million to revamp a Boeing 747-400, so it can test its creations in the sky.
A Florida startup once just made model planes—but now it’s building little baby jet engines for drones. (OK, the baby in question is 80 pounds.)
One-handed games for your next commute. (PLEASE DON’T PLAY BEHIND THE WHEEL.)
Volvo unleashes its first all-electric car—and a plan to cut its emissions by 40 percent by 2025.
This app promises to help you get over jet lag, and it had our reviewer sleeping like a Dane on the second day of her trip to Copenhagen.
Scooter Enemy of the Week
Scooter wariness has been around as long as the scooter-share business (that’d be about two years). But every so often, the movement gains a new adherent. This week, it was comedian John Mulaney, who reported on Instagram that his French bulldog Petunia was almost hit by a careless scooter rider during a visit to Washington, DC. To that rider, we say, “Simmer down!” And to Petunia, we say, “Give ‘em another chance! Scooters could be the key to unlocking street design that’s better for all!”
Stat of the Week
The drop in travel time on buses traveling New York’s new bus-only lanes on busy 14th Street, according to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. The controversial “busway” went into effect at the beginning of this month, after more than a year of legal tussling. And it really looks like it’s working so far. Bus ridership is up, probably partly because it’s quicker to take the bus now, and data from the traffic analytics company Inrix shows that booting cars off the street did not have a discernible effect on the surrounding streets. Perhaps busways for all?
News from elsewhere on the internet