Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis C. Madrigal is a staff writer at The Atlantic. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology.

Why Robot Cars Will Need a Lot of Human Help

Waymo is preparing to launch self-driving taxis. But the people tending them may be the most important part of the system.

A bouquet of blue and red plastic straws

How the Disposable Straw Explains Modern Capitalism

Local governments can try to ban the plastic straw now, but they can’t do a thing about the vast system that’s attached to it.

Uber and Lyft Are Uniting Against Their Common Foe: Private Cars

Ride-hailing companies are diversifying away from their core business, but right into more direct competition.

The Perfect Selfishness of Mapping Apps

Apps like Waze, Google Maps, and Apple Maps may make traffic conditions worse in some areas, new research suggests.

Waymo vs. Uber Fizzles Just as It Was Getting Good

The blockbuster Silicon Valley case settled, clearing the way for the development of more self-driving cars.

Could Self-Driving Trucks Be Good for Truckers?

That’s what a new study from Uber’s self-driving-truck team says, and a variety of trucking experts think they might be right.

The Salesforce building is pictured on the San Francisco skyline.

The Tower at the Heart of the Tech Boom

A symbol of the industry's reach takes its place in San Francisco's skyline just as Americans begin to reckon with the power of Silicon Valley's companies.

A woman looks at her phone in near darkness

Florida's Electric Grid Needs a Wholesale Reboot

Hurricane Irma has laid waste to the state's electricity, affecting more than 10 million people. Now what?

All the Promises Automakers Have Made About the Future of Cars

If you believe them, there will be a lot of self-driving cars on the road by 2020.

Building an Unhackable Autonomous Vehicle

We should investigate the many ways hackers could disrupt self-driving cars before we begin deploying them.

Why Are Americans so Suspicious of Self-Driving Cars?

Attitudes about autonomous vehicles are positive in the UK and Australia. But in the U.S., people are more paranoid. 

Where Restaurant Reservations Come From

A journey into the mysterious origins of the pre-arranged table.

New York City Musical References, Mapped

Music is embedded in the streets, like the streets are embedded in the music.

How to Put All the World Cup Games on Your Calendar

It takes 15 seconds, and you'll never miss a game you want to see.

Finding a Better Word for 'Autonomous Car'

A computer was once a human who computed; how long until "a driver" is a machine that drives?

The Racist Housing Policy That Made Your Neighborhood

The freewheeling opportunity associated with 20th-century California was not available to black residents, and that exclusion reverberates in our neighborhoods and communities today.

The Trick That Makes Google's Self-Driving Cars Work

Google is engaging in unprecedented, massive, ongoing data collection to transform intractable problems into solvable chores.