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Gadget Lab Podcast: Charting Our Robocar Future


From fledgling startups to automotive giants like General Motors, there’s a whole lot of companies looking to develop fully self-driving cars. But that goal is still a long way from reality. The grid of the city’s streets is a messy, unpredictable place, and it turns out that robots aren’t that great at handling the array of variables that come up when trying to move around in it.

This week on Gadget Lab, WIRED transportation writer Alex Davies joins Mike, Arielle, and Lauren to talk about why it’s so difficult to program a fully autonomous vehicle, and how the companies making them have adjusted to the challenge.

Show Notes

Read more from Alex Davies on GM’s robo-taxis, the startup developing self-driving vans for Walmart, and bike lane-bound autonomous delivery vehicles. Arielle has more on the Google Pixel 4’s gesture controls here. Lauren details Intel’s new processor line here. Read more from Lily Hay Newman about the Capital One security breach and the hacker who didn’t cover her tracks here.


For all the baseball fans out there, Alex recommends Mike recommends letting a robotic-exoskeleton make you dance as part of the art project Inferno. Lauren recommends Workin’ Moms on Netflix. Arielle recommends Huji, the app that turns your phone into a disposable camera.

How to Listen

You can always listen to this week’s podcast through the audio player on this page, but if you want to subscribe for free to get every episode, here’s how:

If you’re on an iPhone or iPad, open the app called Podcasts, or just tap this link. You can also download an app like Overcast or Pocket Casts, and search for Gadget Lab. If you use Android, you can find us in the Google Play Music app just by tapping here. We’re on Spotify too. You can also download an app like Pocket Casts or Google Podcasts, and search for Gadget Lab. And in case you really need it, here’s the RSS feed.

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