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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Normally, making something safer means reducing the amount of money you need to pay to insure it. But that's not the case with today's autos.

The big picture: As cars evolve from being mostly mechanical to being computers on wheels, they become increasingly fragile, especially around the periphery. A CPU can sit safely in the center of the vehicle, but the sensors can't.

  • Chips and dents aren't cosmetic any more. They can easily push sensors out of alignment, or even break them entirely.
  • Repair bills have doubled as a result, according to AAA.
  • A windshield is no longer just a windshield. Today, it can house sensors for automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control and lane departure warning systems. That's h0w a $200 windshield repair becomes $1,500 or more.
  • In the age of distracted driving, the most common collision is when the car behind you hits your rear bumper at low speed. That could cost $3,500 to repair if the ultrasonic system for parking assistance is damaged as well as rear radar sensors used for blind-spot monitoring and cross-traffic alerting. And that's if you can find a mechanic qualified to make such repairs.

The bottom line: Modern cars, equipped with modern electronics, are genuinely safer. They save lives and could prevent millions of injuries. But insurance doesn't just cover damage to humans. It covers damage to cars, too, and those costs are only going up.

Go deeper

33 mins ago - World

Poland showdown is EU's Jan. 6 moment, top official says

Didier Reynders. Photo: Thierry Monasse/Getty Images

Poland and Hungary have forced a moment of reflection on the European Union — similar to the one in the U.S. after the Jan. 6 insurrection, EU Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders told Axios.

What he's saying: "During many years, we have had in our minds that it was granted that if you are a member of the EU, of course you apply the rule of law; you have full respect for democracy, fundamental rights and so on — maybe with some concerns but with a real intention to adapt your legislation to be in full compliance [with EU law]," Reynders said.

The E-commerce shopping spree

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Retailers have gotten really good at selling stuff online. So much so, investors want them to separate from the business units that do just that.

Why it matters: Spinning off these crown jewels may jeopardize both the physical and e-commerce sides of the companies in the long run by breaking the benefits of hybrid operations, analysts say.

3 hours ago - World

U.S. envoy to visit Sudan as "most dangerous" crisis intensifies

The sit-in in Khartoum. Photo: Mahmoud Hjaj/Anadolu Agency via Getty

U.S. envoy for the Horn of Africa Jeffrey Feltman will visit Khartoum this week amid what Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok has called the “worst and most dangerous" crisis of Sudan’s transition to democracy, two sources with direct knowledge tell Axios.

Driving the news: Roughly 2,000-3,000 people had joined a sit-in in Khartoum as of this afternoon, per Reuters, after protesters massed over the weekend to call on the military to bring down the government. The protests came just four weeks after a failed military coup.