Photo: Karl-Josef Hildenbrand/picture alliance/Getty Images

Having bug guts smeared across your windshield affects visibility, so Ford has developed a self-driving car that's insect-proof.

Why it matters: Self-driving car sensors have the same problem as other vehicles. Dirt, dust, road salt — and yes, insects — can obscure an autonomous vehicle's sensors. An AV that can't clearly "see" its environment won't perform as well.

To better understand its nemesis, Ford consulted with zoologist Mark Hostetler, author of "That Gunk on Your Car," and then built a makeshift bug launcher to fire insects at its sensors, according to a Medium post by Ford engineer Venky Krishnan.

The engineering solution was two-fold:

  1. Air is funneled through slots near the camera in the car's rooftop "tiara" — the funny-looking structure that houses an AV's cameras and lidar systems — deflecting bugs "like changing the course of an asteroid on a crash-course with Earth," says Krishnan.
  2. For those pesky cling-ons, a cleaning system controlled by software algorithms sprays dirty sensors with washer fluid as needed and then gives them a quick blow dry.

Go deeper

Trump signs 4 executive actions on coronavirus aid

President Trump speaking during a press conference on Aug. 8. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump on Saturday signed four executive actions to provide relief from economic damage sustained during the coronavirus pandemic after talks between the White House and Democratic leadership collapsed Friday afternoon.

Why it matters: Because the Constitution gives Congress the power to appropriate federal spending, Trump has limited authority to act unilaterally — and risks a legal challenge if congressional Democrats believe he has overstepped.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 19,451,097 — Total deaths: 722,835 — Total recoveries — 11,788,665Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 2. p.m. ET: 4,968,413 — Total deaths: 161,858 — Total recoveries: 1,623,870 — Total tests: 60,415,558Map.
  3. Public health: Fauci says chances are "not great" that COVID-19 vaccine will be 98% effective.
  4. Science: Indoor air is the next coronavirus frontline.
  5. Schools: How back-to-school is playing out in the South as coronavirus rages on — Princeton, Johns Hopkins, Howard to hold fall classes online.
4 hours ago - World

What's next for Lebanon after the Beirut explosion

Photo: Houssam Shbaro/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Beirut residents are still clearing rubble from streets that appear war-torn, days after a blast that shocked the country and horrified the world.

Why it matters: The explosion is likely to accelerate a painful cycle Lebanon was already living through — discontent, economic distress, and emigration.