Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Nobody wants to ride in a dirty, smelly car — especially a shared robotaxi where there is no human driver to clean it up. Luckily, autonomous vehicles might be outfitted with olfaction sensors to help sniff out problems quickly.

What's happening: Denso, one of the world's largest auto suppliers, is teaming up with France's Aryballe Technologies, which develops bio-inspired "digital nose" sensors for multiple industries, as founding members of a new Digital Olfaction Automotive Consortium.

  • The consortium will establish standards for odor measurement in AVs and create a reference database for smells that includes everything from cigarettes to fuel leaks.

Why it matters: When drivers give up their personal cars and instead become passengers in unmanned AVs, their ride experience could be determined, in part, by whether fleet operators are properly maintaining those cars.

Humans can sense an average of 1 trillion odors, according to the journal Science, so cataloguing them in a database could take some time.

  • My thought bubble: I'm guessing nobody wants to smell any of those trillion odors in an autonomous vehicle.

Go deeper: Trump hates "crazy" driverless cars

Go deeper

Dave Lawler, author of World
12 mins ago - World

Global coronavirus vaccine initiative launches without U.S. or China

Data: Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance; Map: Naema Ahmed/Axios

A global initiative to ensure equitable distribution of coronavirus vaccines now includes most of the world — but not the U.S., China or Russia.

Why it matters: Assuming one or more vaccines ultimately gain approval, there will be a period of months or even years in which supply lags far behind global demand. The COVAX initiative is an attempt to ensure doses go where they're most needed, rather than simply to countries that can produce or buy them at scale.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 6:15 p.m. EST: 32,062,182 — Total deaths: 979,701 — Total recoveries: 22,057,268Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 6:15 p.m EST: 6,967,103 — Total deaths: 202,558 — Total recoveries: 2,670,256 — Total tests: 97,459,742Map.
  3. Health: Cases are surging again in 22 states — New York will conduct its own review of coronavirus vaccine.
  4. Business: America is closing out its strongest quarter of economic growth.
  5. Technology: 2020 tech solutions may be sapping our resolve to beat the pandemic.
  6. Sports: Here's what college basketball will look like this season.
  7. Science: During COVID-19 shutdown, a common sparrow changed its song.
2 hours ago - Podcasts

The child care tax on America's economy

Child care in the U.S. is in crisis, which makes it much harder for the American economy to recover — as providers struggle to stay in business and parents wrestle with work.

Axios Re:Cap digs into the problems and what can be done to solve them, with Vox senior reporter Anna North.

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