The new Tesla X Signature Series features sensor equipped rear gull wing doors.

By Jeff Sanford

Toronto, Ontario -- September 3, 2015 -- Some interesting facts and figures from the week that was:

- The number of sensors in cars may be getting ridiculous. The new Tesla SUV has gull-wing doors equipped with sensors so that when they open they don’t hit anything. However, it seems certain that this is going to be a very expensive door to fix when one does get hit. The new Tesla X will sell for as much as $144,000.

- There's been a lot of progress on autonomous vehicles, but they still have trouble dealing with “less than perfect” humans. Last month when one of Google’s self-driving cars approached a crosswalk it slowed down to avoid a pedestrian, but was then hit from behind by a human-driven vehicle. In a 2009 test, a Google car couldn’t get through a busy four-way stop. Its sensors kept waiting for other drivers to stop completely. But human-driven cars kept inching forward and Google’s robot was paralyzed. “Researchers in the fledgling field of autonomous vehicles say that one of the biggest challenges facing automated cars is blending them into a world in which humans don’t behave by the book,” according to one media report.

- A new report, Gartner’s 2015 Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, suggests autonomous vehicles will not be on the streets in any meaningful way for at least five to ten years. 

- The Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, a new free-trade agreement being hammered out among various countries, has stalled over the issue of North American auto parts. The Mexican auto industry has lead a campaign to preserve the existing auto parts manufacturing sector in North America. A Japanese clause in the TPP had threatened to change the nature of the sector.

- US safety regulators said Tuesday that about 19 million defective Takata Corp. air bag inflators remain installed in US vehicles. As well, the regulators said they have not yet found the root cause of the problem.

 

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