Police in Canada say they recently charged a Tesla Model S owner with driving dangerously for sleeping at his car’s wheel. In July, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) say they responded to a speeding complaint on Highway 2 near Ponoka — a town in Alberta, south of the province’s capital of Edmonton. Those who saw the car report it was traveling faster than 140 kilometers per hour (86MPH), with the front seats “completely reclined,” and both the driver and passenger seemingly asleep. When a police officer found the 2019 Model S and turned on their emergency lights, the vehicle accelerated to 150 kilometers per hour (about 93MPH) before it eventually stopped.
Police initially charged the driver, a 20-year-old man from the province of British Columbia, with speeding and handed him a 24-hour license suspension for driving while fatigued. He was also later charged with dangerous driving and has a court date in December.
It’s unclear how the Model S driver misused Autopilot in the way that they did. The incident occurred before Tesla updated the system to give it the ability to detect speed limit signs using a vehicle’s cameras. However, as The Verge notes, Tesla has said Autopilot will only work when it detects that the driver has their hands on the steering wheel. If that’s not the case, the car will try to get the driver’s attention with visual and audio warnings before disabling Autopilot.
But the fact that drivers can disengage from Autopilot is something that the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) in the US has criticized Tesla over repeatedly. In March, the agency published a report that said a Model 3 driver’s overreliance on the system — in a situation it wasn’t designed to handle — led to a deadly crash in Delray Beach, Florida in 2019.
In this latest incident, the RCMP similarly warned against overlying on Autopilot. “Although manufacturers of new vehicles have built in safeguards to prevent drivers from taking advantage of the new safety systems in vehicles, those systems are just that — supplemental safety systems,” said Superintendent Gary Graham of Alberta RCMP Traffic Services. “They are not self-driving systems, they still come with the responsibility of driving.”
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The Canadian Union of Public Employees says 128 Air Transat flight attendants — more than half the current workforce of attendants — were notified last week that they will be temporarily laid off and that the airline’s Vancouver base will be closed as a stop-gap measure.
CUPE says last week’s layoffs leave only 117 flight attendants working for the month of November, down from 245 flight attendants working in October, 355 in August and 2,000 before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Christophe Hennebelle, Transat AT’s vice president of human resources and corporate affairs, says that while no flight attendants have been permanently let go, the company is processing “a number of temporary layoffs.”
Hennebelle says the company cannot confirm total numbers before everyone has been informed, but that 128 flight attendants were told of the change last week.
In total, the airline says it now has about 1,700 active employees, down from 5,100 before the pandemic.
The airline attributed the decision to a lack of improving prospects for the industry amid Canada’s border closures and a dearth of support programs for airlines.
Business sentiment in Canada improved over the summer but remains near historical lows as uncertainty around the path of the virus curbs demand and sales prospects, according to the Bank of Canada.
The results from the autumn Business Outlook Survey show businesses report conditions have improved as warmer weather and lower Covid-19 case counts encouraged consumers to go out and buy goods and services. However, businesses are still worried about future demand and sales prospects with some economic restrictions still in place.
“Firms reported their sales prospects are limited by weak demand and precautionary health guidelines, and that their investment and hiring plans remain Modest due to elevated uncertainty,” the central bank said in the survey, which took place between Aug. 24 and Sept. 16.
The tone of the survey is consistent with the Bank of Canada’s view that a full recovery will be long and difficult. The economy rebounded more quickly than expected in the summer as containment measures were lifted but the second phase of the recovery — known as the “recuperation” phase — will be uneven and protracted.
The composite gauge of sentiment rose to -2.2 in the third quarter, from a decade-low of -6.9 last quarter. While that’s a substantial improvement, the reading is still the second-lowest since 2016.
Although the survey was completed recently, economic conditions have changed as Covid-19 cases rapidly rose, particularly in the country’s two largest provinces. Ontario and Quebec reimposed containment measures on some businesses and activity in recent weeks in response to the second wave which will keep a lid on demand and hamper economic activity through the fall and winter.
Recovery remains uneven across industries: One third of firms reported sales were mostly unaffected or positively affected by COVID‑19; a second third of firms indicated sales have already fully recovered or will recover within the next 12 months; final third either expect their sales won’t return for at least 12 months or are unsure when sales will fully rebound
Businesses that say sales won’t recover within a year typically linked to tourism and related industries where physical distancing is difficult
Meanwhile, businesses linked to real estate, infrastructure and natural resources have largely recovered or see themselves recovering within a year
Capacity constraints appear to be back to historical averages, but the central bank says most firms facing constraints see them as temporary or not broad-based
Despite the rebound in the capacity gauge, BOC concludes: “Results for capacity and labor pressures suggest that the economy continues to have excess capacity and labor slack, although these have narrowed since the summer survey”
Investment intentions improved from previous quarter, but remain weak — below historical averages
Employment intentions have also rebounded, though they remain slightly below historical averages. It’s an uneven trend. “Almost one-third of businesses — generally those that are dependent on tourism or facing weak demand — expect their workforce levels to remain lower than before the pandemic for at least the next 12 months or to never fully return”
Wage growth is expected to slow, the survey found
Firms expect input prices to grow at a slightly faster pace over the next 12 months, driven by increases in commodity prices, difficulty sourcing inputs, or higher operating costs due to health guidelines
Businesses have slightly higher inflation expectations, with 11 per cent of firms expecting inflation above 3 per cent
Oil prices were slightly down early on Monday as an OPEC+ panel is meeting virtually to discuss the latest supply and demand developments, while underwhelming economic data from China and stricter measures to fight COVID-19 in Europe weighed on oil market sentiment.
As of 08:32 a.m. EDT on Monday, WTI Crude was down 0.20 percent at $40.78 and Brent Crude traded down 0.26 percent on the day at $42.81.
Prices held relatively steady in the morning as investors await the outcome of the monthly meeting of the Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee (JMMC) at which several OPEC+ ministers are discussing the latest market developments amid speculation whether the group should proceed with easing the cuts as of January, considering that the second COVID-19 wave sweeping through Europe and threatening to derail economic and oil demand recovery. The JMMC panel is not expected to take any action, but comments during and after the meeting could swing oil prices in either direction.
“Given the JMMC is made up of just a handful of OPEC+ members, we will likely have to wait for the full group meetings on the 30 November and 1 December for any concrete decision, though that does not mean that there won’t be plenty of noise around what OPEC+ might do,” ING strategists Warren Patterson and Wenyu Yao said on Monday.
Economic data out of China was not constructive for oil prices today, as economic growth in the third quarter—while accelerating from Q2—missed analyst expectations.
“With prices stuck in the low $40’s and global coronavirus cases spiking again, the group – despite Russian wishes to increase production – needs to tread carefully. The potential for a U.S. relief package remains alive, but the impact, given rising coronavirus cases, may be limited. Brent is currently stuck in a $41.50/b to $43.50/b range,” John Hardy, Head of FX Strategy at Saxo Bank, said on Monday.
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