One of the greatest ironies in this still-nascent era of self-driving cars is that humans are the backup safety drivers for these autonomous systems, while the systems themselves are supposed to replace human drivers and all our follies. Earlier this week, a preliminary report from the NTSB indicated that the Uber self-driving car that killed a woman in Arizona earlier this year, did in fact "see" the woman in the seconds before the crash occurred. Transportation writer Aarian Marshall and editor Alex Davies join the Gadget Lab podcast this week to discuss the issues that surround "software that's not yet ready to replace humans, and humans that are ill-equipped to keep their would-be replacements from doing harm." And of course, we couldn't have a conversation about the future of transportation without talking about Elon Musk. Also, Alex writes about the follies of humans act as backup safety drivers, while Aarian lays out California's heavy-handed plans to regulate autonomous vehicles.
Russia's armed invasion of Ukraine has already exacted a terrible human cost. Thousands of people are dead and over a million have been displaced. In condemning Russia's actions, other nations across the world have sought to hit the country with a broad array of economic sanctions. One of those sanctions targets several large Russian banks, and could have repercussions across the globe. This content can also be viewed on the site it originates from.
Last week, the cargo ship Ever Given got itself stuck in the Suez Canal for six days. The blockage completely disrupted maritime trade routes, captured worldwide attention, and became the subject of many online lulz. But even though the ship has been freed, the repercussions will be felt for months to come. This week, WIRED transportation writer Aarian Marshall joins us to talk about why the Ever Given got stuck and how the shipping industry might prevent this kind of absurd catastrophe in the future. Read Aarian's story about the big boat that got stuck in the Suez canal here.
People are heading outdoors this summer. And after many long months of sagging business, transportation services--from airlines to rental car companies to public transit agencies--are offering deals and prizes to woo travelers back onto their platforms. But they also have to figure out how to handle the surge in demand, especially after being forced to make major cutbacks during the pandemic, when ridership numbers plummeted. This week on Gadget Lab, we talk with WIRED transportation writer Aarian Marshall about mass transit and how to travel--both close to home and far from it--during your hot vax summer. Follow all of WIRED's transportation coverage here.
Uber and Lyft had it pretty good in the beginning. The companies could roll out their services to new cities, entice a bunch of drivers and riders to their platform, and "disrupt" transit before regulators were able to stop them. It was a playbook that worked for a while, until the people who made the rules started to catch up. Now, city officials and regulators have been less than enthusiastic when new transportation startups start to move in. In many ways, rideshare companies have made life difficult for the scooter companies trying to follow in their path.