Economy & Business - Transportation

Transportation

The big picture

Electric vehicles are coming, but no one is sure how fast

Their adoption is one variable affecting the future of oil demand and carbon emissions.

Dec 19, 2019 - Energy & Environment
Video: Transportation's looming overhaul

Changes in transportation are changing society at a level we haven’t seen in over 200 years.

Dec 4, 2019 - Economy & Business
Transportation's looming overhaul

"It’s a gamble based on what you think will happen, but if you don’t do anything, then for sure you’re out of business."

Oct 18, 2019 - Energy & Environment

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What we're driving: The 2020 Hyundai Sonata

2020 Hyundai Sonata. Photo: Courtesy of Hyundai

This week I'm driving the 2020 Hyundai Sonata, a car that purports to park itself.

Reality check: The heavily advertised "Smaht Pahk" feature has limited capability. Sure, it can pull itself head-on into a tight parking space and back out too, but that's about it.

New York Fed says Boeing's production freeze could cut U.S. GDP growth by 20% in 2020

Photo: Roslan Rahman /AFP/Getty Images

Analysts at the New York Fed expect the all-out production stoppage on Boeing's 737 MAX will have a sizable negative impact on U.S. growth this year.

State of play: The decline will produce a 0.4% decline in GDP growth, the NY Fed's Julian di Giovanni finds.

Self-driving vehicle law hits a speed bump

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Lawmakers working to speed a federal framework for autonomous vehicles into law face a key obstacle that stymied previous attempts: who gets sued in collisions.

The big picture: Manufacturers and tech companies want federal rules of the road for their roll-out of self-driving vehicles. But trial lawyers, a powerful lobby, want key questions on liability in a driverless world answered before legislation advances.

North American rail traffic continued to slow in 2019

Data: Association of American Railroads; Table: Axios Visuals

North American rail traffic continued to decline in January, with U.S. rail carloads dropping by 5.9%, or 73,110 carloads, year over year, according to the latest report from the Association of American Railroads (AAR).

Why it matters: It was the 12th straight month of decline, and both major rail shipments — coal (down 13.8%) and grain (down 11.6%) — had what AAR termed "lousy Januarys," accounting for a decline of 68,790 carloads for the month.

British Airways rides storm winds in record-breaking transatlantic flight

A British Airways flight taking off from Heathrow Airport, Feb. 7. Photo: Steve Parsons/PA Images via Getty Images

British Airways on Sunday flew the fastest-ever New York to London subsonic flight, completing the 3,451-mile trip in 4 hours and 56 minutes as Storm Ciara barreled toward the U.K., according to Flightradar24, a flight-tracking service.

The big picture: The Boeing 747 aircraft arrived at Heathrow airport in Longford, England, almost two hours earlier than scheduled, and reached a top speed of 825 mph during the flight.

DOJ has dropped antitrust probe into four major automakers

Drivers in Los Angeles in September 2019. Photo: Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images

The Justice Department has dropped its antitrust inquiry into four major automakers — Ford, VW, Honda and BMW — that struck a deal with California to boost emissions standards in defiance of White House plans to relax existing rules, the New York Times reported Friday and Axios later confirmed.

The big picture, via Axios' Amy Harder: This is a victory for California in a war against the Trump administration on multiple legal and policy fronts. Another one we're watching is how the administration's lawsuit against California's cornerstone climate policy shakes out.

GM is eating Tesla's exhaust

Tesla Model 3. Photo: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

While Tesla shares went into Ludicrous Mode this week, GM executives were on Wall Street pitching investors on their own vision of an electric, self-driving future. But as Bloomberg notes, the market isn't buying.

Why it matters: GM may be investing billions to transform its business for the future, but to many investors, Tesla's lead in the fledgling electric vehicle market is seen as insurmountable.

What we're driving: The 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 2500

Your author with the Silverado 2500, to scale. Photo: Bill Rapai/Axios

My ride this week is a 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 2500, a heavy-duty pickup truck with a hood that's almost as tall as I am.

The big picture: Heavy-duty trucks are meant for people doing serious work, like towing a large boat, a horse trailer or a camper — not for driving to the health club or supermarket, like I did.

Self-driving cars are getting their own rules

Nuro's R2 has no occupants, mirrors or windshield. Photo: Courtesy of Nuro

Regulators are starting to rewrite rules for self-driving cars to share the road with traditional vehicles.

The big picture: Automated test vehicles are allowed on public roads in some states — so long as they comply with existing safety standards written for human-driven vehicles.

Feds clear the way for Nuro's driverless deliveries

Nuro's second-generation delivery vehicle, R2. Photo courtesy of Nuro

The U.S. Transportation Department is giving its regulatory blessing to the first autonomous vehicle with no steering wheel, pedals or human occupant.

Why it matters: Vehicle safety standards were written for today's cars and trucks, mostly to protect humans riding inside them. By granting an exemption to Nuro's self-driving delivery vans, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is beginning to pave the way for the driverless era.

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