The TSA Is Testing New Scanners to Make Airport Security More Efficient

It’s that time of year again. Prepare for inspection. Get to the airport hours early, just to stand in line with other sleep-deprived travelers. March forward, splay open your belongings. Separate your valuable electronics and leak-prone liquids into trays. Try to ignore the frustrated tutting of the guy behind you. This is the airport TSA shuffle we all know and abhor. But now, thanks to new technology, the experience is set to improve.

Airports in the US are joining those in the rest of the world and are starting trials of new bag scanners, using the CT tech common in hospitals, that will give TSA agents a major upgrade over the x-ray scanners they use now. Agents will be able to virtually unpack bags and spin objects around in 3-D, eliminating the need for you to unpack—and keeping everyone moving as well as safe.

During the six days around Turkey Day, the number of long-distance trips read more

Scientists Look at How Humans Drive in Self-Driving Cars

Almost half of Americans will hop in their cars for a Thanksgiving trip this year. But if you were being very precise—if you were a team of Massachusetts of Technology researchers who study human-machine interactions—you wouldn’t say that all those Americans are “driving,” exactly. The new driver assistance systems on the market—like Tesla’s’s Autopilot, Volvo’s’s Pilot Assist, and Jaguar Land Rover’s InControl Driver Assistance—mean that some of those travelers are doing an entirely new thing, participating in a novel, fluid dance. The human handles the wheel in some situations, and the machine handles it in others: changing lanes, parking, monitoring blind spots, warning when the car is about to crash. Call it…piloting? Shepherding? Conducting? We might need a new word.

Fully autonomous cars won’t swarm the roads en masse for decades, and in the meantime, we’ll have these semiautonomous systems. And scientists need to figure out read more

Flight Delayed? Know Your Rights to Compensation

It’s that time of year again. Yes, it’ll feel great to be home, chilling out, stuffing yourself, falling asleep on the sofa. But boy, it’s going to suck getting there.

That’s because 24 million people will travel on US airlines over the Thanksgiving period (up 6 percent from last year), according to the TSA. This week, even a short flight will feel like an epic journey, with many perils and demons to vanquish.

Airlines stand at the ready, fully staffed and prepared to tackle crummy weather, broken planes, staff calling in sick, and whatever else may happen. But they can’t plan for everything, and delays are inevitable.

As you prepare for this fight, you’re carrying a weapon you might not even know about: your rights. Not the first amendment right to yell at gate agents (which helps no one), but law-given privileges created to keep you safe, comfortable, and sane as you battle your way home.

Here, then, brave traveler, are some of the beacons to use to guide you on your epic holiday read more

Frequent Flier Miles Don’t Matter Anymore—Get Some New Credit Cards

Oh, Thanksgiving: A time for turkey, a time for uncomfortable political discussions, a time for the most nightmarish airplane trips imaginable. Roughly 24 million Americans will fly with US airlines this week, and a lot of them will be thinking: Hey, at least I’ll come out of this misery with some frequent flier miles for that solo kayaking trip to New Zealand.

Except, not so much. For the first time since frequent flier programs got their start in the 1980s, most American airline passengers are earning rewards in a new way. To put it bluntly, the frequent flier mile is dead.

Since 2015, American, United, and Delta Airlines have each changed the basis of their rewards programs from miles flown to money handed over. (American just made the switch in August.) You get points based on what you pay, not how far you go. They’ve made it harder for passengers to reach the elite statuses that come with perks like seat upgrades.

That’s likely to aggravate the folks who buy tickets read more

Behind the Scenes of the Dubai Airshow Spending Spree (Photos)

Every two years, the giants of the aviation industry gather at an airport an hour south of the largest city in the United Arab Emirates, and the center of a booming new air travel market. The Dubai Airshow is effectively a massive shopping spree, where nearly 80,000 people wandered between the massive indoor exhibit hall and the jumbo jets, business aircraft, and fighter jets lined up outside. Government delegations, airlines, and corporations wheel and deal with defense contractors and aircraft manufacturers—and this year, they dropped a collective $113.8 billion on new hardware.

In the gallery above, check out some of the action and moments that grabbed our attention this year in Dubai.

social experiment by Livio Acerbo #greengroundit from

What Does Tesla’s Automated Truck Mean for Truckers?

On Thursday night, Elon Musk rolled out Tesla‘s biggest gizmo yet: a fully electric semitruck. The Semi can go a whopping 500 miles between charges, hauling 80,000 pounds along the way. And it can sorta, kinda drive itself—on highways, anyway. The truck comes with Enhanced Autopilot, the second generation of Tesla’s semiautonomous technology, equipped with automatic braking, lane keeping, and lane departure warnings.

“Every truck we sell has Autopilot as standard,” Musk said of the Semi, which goes into production in 2019. “This is a massive increase in safety.”

That may be true—about 4,000 Americans die in truck-related collisions every year, and human error is responsible for many of them. Self-driving trucks will certainly change lives. That goes double for the nearly 3.2 million people currently employed as delivery and heavy truck drivers. But we don’t know how: A dearth of research means that no one really knows what effect automation read more

Tesla’s New Truck, New Roadster, New Lawsuits, and More in the Future of Cars

Here at WIRED Transportation, we love a good, fast car: nimble, corner-hugging, fast as hell, shiny as all get out. This week was not supposed to be about those. We were ready to go all in on trucks, the lumbering elephants of the highway animal kingdom. There was, of course, last night’s glitzy Tesla Semi reveal—our own Alex Davies jetted down to the Tesla Design Studio in LA County to spend some time with the ultra-powerful, four-motor beast, which gets 500 miles per charge. Jack Stewart, meanwhile, checked out other happenings in the electric truck/saving-the-world sector and discovered all sorts of companies arguing that electric motors are better for shipping than the old school diesel kind. And now that Musk has trumpeted his truck’s autonomous features and startup Embark is using semiautonomous trucks to deliver fridges, I took a look at the future of truck driving jobs.

And then it all went to pot, because Elon Musk rolled read more

Self-Driving Car Tech Can Help Another Form of Transport: Wheelchairs

Autonomous vehicle technology often prompts discussions about profit, safety, efficiency, jobs, and more. But this innovation can change millions of lives today without introducing a single car to the road. Think: self-driving wheelchairs.



Elizabeth Jameson (@jamesonfineart) is a health policy analyst and an artist who uses neurotechnology, science and art to shift the narrative of chronic illness. Catherine Monahon is an art educator and project manager who works with individuals, small businesses, and nonprofits to tell their stories through various media.

I have a progressive disease, multiple sclerosis, which has now rendered me quadriplegic; I no longer have use of my hands or legs. I am a part of a growing group of people with mobility challenges. With an aging population, an increase in chronic illnesses worldwide, and longer lifespans, the number of people over age 65 is expected to nearly double read more

The Littler Fire Engine That Could Make Cities Safer

In theory, creating a safer street should be easy: Make life harder for cars and easier for people. That means lowering the speed limit, building speed bumps, traffic circles, and bulb-outs, which narrow roads and force drivers to be more cautious, and creating special, separated spaces in the street for drivers, cyclists, and walkers.

Firefighters, though—they just want to get where they’re going, fast. And in cities like Baltimore or New York, fire departments have pushed back against design tweaks that better protect bicyclists and walkers, arguing that the changes make it harder to maneuver their fire engines, and thus, protect residents. In Baltimore, the conflict even led to litigation.

In San Francisco, though: compromise. Earlier this month at Fire Department Station 13, tucked between the twisty, turn-y, packed streets of Chinatown and the Financial District, the San Francisco Fire Department rolled out its latest ride—a fire engine that plays nice with people-friendly read more

Everything We Know About Tesla’s New Roadster

Tesla is making a new version of the Roadster sports car, Elon Musk announced Thursday night, and it looks spectacular.

After the Tesla CEO spent half an hour onstage extolling the virtues of his new electric 18-wheeler, he stepped away and the lights went out. Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage” came on the loudspeakers, and then the new Roadster rolled out of the very Semi he had just introduced, ripping around the massive lot where the trucks had been just a moment earlier.

Musk promises insane specs from this new sports car. Zero to 60 mph in 1.9 seconds, quicker than the average Formula 1 car. A quarter mile in 8.9 seconds, in a world where “10-second cars” are coveted. Top speed somewhere north of 250 mph, putting it in the realm of the fastest production cars on the planet, like the Bugatti Chiron and Koenigsegg Agera. And to go with it, four seats (if you’re traveling with two small people), decent cargo room, and 620 miles of range, thanks to a 200-kilowatt hour battery pack, read more