Staff members sort mail Thursday at the Royal Mail distribution center in Glasgow, Scotland, on what is traditionally the busiest day of the year for mail in the run-up to Christmas. (Andy Buchanan/Agence France-Presse via Getty Images)
TECHNOLOGY
GM to test driverless vehicles in Michigan

General Motors will soon learn whether its autonomous driving technology can stand up to Michigan’s harsh winters.

The automaker will begin testing self-driving Chevy Bolt electric vehicles on public roads in the greater Detroit area, executives announced Thursday. The announcement comes after Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) signed legislation last week that sets parameters for how the cars can be safely tested in the state.

Home to many of the country’s leading automakers, Michigan aims to pull ahead of California and other states as a place that’s friendly to the autonomous driving movement.

The laws permit ride-hailing services to use fully automated cars without human drivers and also allow the Michigan public to purchase self-driving vehicles when they go on the market, the Detroit News reported.

General Motors is already testing 40 autonomous electric vehicles on the road in San Francisco and Scottsdale, Ariz.

The self-driving Chevy Bolts that GM uses to test the technology, which come equipped with lasers, cameras and other sensors, will be produced at an assembly plant in Lake Orion, Mich.

— Steven Overly

AIRLINES
No price gouging after train crash, DOT says

After an 18-month investigation, the U.S. Transportation Department has concluded that airlines were not guilty of price gouging in the aftermath of an Amtrak crash in Philadelphia that disrupted rail travel in the Northeast Corridor.

After the May 12, 2015, derailment that killed eight passengers and injured 159, there were allegations that the cost of plane tickets in northeast cities had skyrocketed.

The accident delayed rail travel from Washington to New York and Boston for days, and the Transportation Department looked into whether there were significant ticket price increases by American, Delta, Southwest, JetBlue and United airlines.

After the department reviewed routes between the Washington area’s three airports, those in the New York region and in Boston, the investigation was closed, according to an email the department sent the airlines Wednesday.

“Based on this analysis, the enforcement office finds that, although fares did increase on many routes in the aftermath of the derailment, fares also decreased on some routes,” assistant general counsel Blane A. Workie wrote in the email. “More importantly, there was no evidence of unfair ma­nipu­la­tion of airfares or capacity, nor evidence of unconscionable increases in fares beyond normal pricing levels.”

The airlines, some of which added flights while rail traffic was shut down, denied the allegations 18 months ago and again on Thursday.

— Ashley Halsey III

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