Articles by Thomas Black

Computerized Eyewear Looking for Success in Factories and Field

Remember Google Glass? The vaunted debut of the company’s computerized eyewear six years ago was one of Silicon Valley’s more spectacular flops. Deemed too awkward and pretentious, early users were disparaged as “glassholes” by a critical public. Parent company Alphabet …

UPS, Drone Maker Kick Off U.S. Commercial Flights in North Carolina

United Parcel Service Inc. and a startup drone partner began the first continuing commercial drone deliveries in the U.S., making a short flight carrying a medical sample between North Carolina hospitals on Tuesday. The deliveries, using a drone made by …

High-Flying Drone Business May Leave Smaller Firms, Pioneers Behind

Andy Trench made $2,000 a day in 2015 taking sky-high photographs along the East Coast with a drone he made himself. Now, that same work fetches about $175. “It’s apparent that a lot of this industry is a race to …

Southwest Fatality First for a U.S. Airline in 9 Years

One passenger was killed when an engine blew out on a Southwest Airlines Co. jetliner carrying 149 people, marking the first fatality on a U.S.-registered airline in more than nine years. The plane, bound for Dallas from New York’s LaGuardia …

Drone Delivery Fleets Counting on Hyperlocal Weather Forecasts

Imagine a weather report so precise it provides wind-gust forecasts for individual city blocks. Such micro-weather data may soon become a reality—and a necessity for future fleets of delivery drones. As Amazon.com Inc., United Parcel Service Inc., Domino’s Pizza Inc., …

Delta System Failure Highlights Need for Airline Technology Upgrade

The failure of Delta Air Lines Inc.’s worldwide computer network this week spotlights the vulnerability of the information systems sustaining the biggest U.S. carriers, each of which has contended with major disruptions during the last year. Complex networks cobbled together …

Railroad Industry Being Left Behind in Drive to Autonomous Transportation

Peter Mills sees an inconsistency. One arm of the U.S. Department of Transportation is recommending two-person crews be required for freight trains as another plans to spend billions to help develop driverless technology for long-haul trucks. “Anything that tilts the …

Women Truckers Outperform Men; More Recruited to Ease Labor Shortage

Female truckers are sliding into long-haul cabs as companies seek to end a U.S. driver shortage, and they’re proving to be better behind the wheel than men. That’s no surprise to Stephanie Klang, 57, who used to drive in a …

What Supreme Court’s Head Scarf Ruling Means for Employers

A U.S. Supreme Court ruling that Abercrombie & Fitch Co. can be sued for denying employment to a woman wearing a head scarf will compel companies large and small to brush up on the nuances of bias and do more …

Single Engineer for Trains a Tough Sell Following Amtrak Crash

The Amtrak crash that killed eight people this month raised questions of the safety of one-engineer trains, thwarting the idea of reducing freight crews for now, Union Pacific Corp. Chief Executive Officer Lance Fritz said. While cargo operators would save …