Canceled Flights, New Waymo Sensors, and More Car News This Week


The worldwide transportation industry is racing to keep up with the spread of the novel coronavirus, as it becomes evident that the virus is moving throughout the US. Airlines took major financial hits, even as they changed their routines—no hot towels for you!—to prevent the spread of the virus. Public transit agencies stepped up their cleaning procedures. Car sales collapsed in China. Are you changing your travel behavior because of the virus? Maybe skipping that conference? Working from home? You’re certainly not alone.

Cool stuff happened this week too. Waymo rolled out its new sensor suite and divulged some cool details about its new all-electric, self-driving Jaguar I-Paces. Goodyear has a new and sort of freaky tire concept. Scientists said they figured out a way to make airplane trips less terrible for the environment (though airlines might not love it). It’s been a week; let’s get you caught up.

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Headlines

Stories you might have missed from WIRED this week

  • Goodyear’s new tire concept regenerates, which means it works like a tube of lipstick: Simply push up new tread as old parts wear away.
  • Conspiracy theorists have blamed airplane contrails for spreading government-made chemicals that fight global warming. But new research suggests contrails actually make climate change worse.
  • Researchers say hackers can clone millions of Toyota, Hyundai, and Kia keys—all using some relatively inexpensive equipment.
  • How the companies and organizations charged with moving Americans around the country are grappling with coronavirus, mini-mops and fog machines included.
  • Meet Waymo’s fifth-generation hardware suite, built into electric Jaguar I-Paces. (Don’t worry: Waymo employees with AirGuns fired ball bearings at the shiny equipment to make sure it works.)
  • Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs is testing iconography that informs city dwellers when and why their data is being collected.

Non-Transportation Tips of the Week

As coronavirus worries spread throughout the country, we get it: Some of you won’t be moving at all. You know, quarantine stuff. As more companies order employees to work from home, WIRED has you covered: Here’s how to survive a few weeks of work in isolation without losing all your marbles.

Stat of the Week: 24.7 percent

The share of incorrectly parked motor vehicles observed by a team of Cornell University researchers as they hung out in five major US cities for three days each. Compare that figure to the share of incorrectly parked e-scooters and bikes: 0.8 percent. The researchers say their findings should motivate cities to rethink how they’re regulating vehicles, and how they’re enforcing those regulations.

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