Mar 20, 2019

How to fix that shared car smell

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

Updates: George Floyd protests continue past curfews

Protesters on Tuesday evening by the metal fence recently erected outside the White House. Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Protests over the death of George Floyd and other police-related killings of black people continued Tuesday night across the U.S. for the eighth consecutive day — prompting a federal response from the National Guard, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection.

The latest: Protesters were still out en masse for mostly after curfews were in force in cities including Washington, D.C., New York City, Los Angeles and Portland — where police used pepper spray and flash bangs on a group throwing projectiles at them during an "unlawful assembly," per KATU. Portland police said this group was separate to the thousands of demonstrators who protested peacefully elsewhere in the city.

Primary elections test impact of protests, coronavirus on voting

Election official at a polling place at McKinley Technology High School in Washington, D.C. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

In the midst of a global pandemic and national protests over the death of George Floyd, eight states and the District of Columbia held primary elections on Tuesday.

Why it matters: Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, needs to win 425 of the 479 delegates up for grabs in order to officially clinch the nomination. There are a number of key down-ballot races throughout the country as well, including a primary in Iowa that could determine the fate of Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa).

Iowa Rep. Steve King defeated in GOP primary

Rep. Steve King. Photo: Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images

State Sen. Randy Feenstra defeated incumbent Rep. Steve King in Tuesday's Republican primary for Iowa's 4th congressional district, according to the Cook Political Report.

Why it matters: King's history of racist remarks has made him one of the most controversial politicians in the country and a pariah within the Republican Party.