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Monthly Archives: January 2013

Toyota, Audi Move Closer to Driverless Cars

By IAN SHERR And MIKE RAMSEY

Toyota Motor Corp. 7203.TO +6.37% and Audi AG NSU.XE +2.84% are throwing their hats into the ring of potential suppliers of self-driving vehicles.

Both auto makers confirmed on Thursday that they will be demonstrating autonomous-driving features at the Consumer Electronics Show in the coming week, signaling a new effort to raise the technology’s profile among consumers.

In a preview video posted to its website on Thursday, Toyota showed a five-second clip of one of its Lexus brand cars outfitted with various sensors and the caption, “Lexus advanced active safety research vehicle is leading the industry into a new automated era.”

An Audi official also said the luxury-car company will be demonstrating autonomous vehicle capabilities at the Las Vegas show, including a feature that allows a car to find a parking space and park itself without a driver behind the wheel.

Toyota’s prototype vehicle is a Lexus LS 600h fitted with radar and camera equipment that can detect other vehicles, road lane lines and traffic signals, giving the vehicle the ability to navigate streets without a driver. It also includes what appears to be the same roof-mounted laser that Google Inc. GOOG +1.98% has been using on its autonomous research cars. Google began testing self-driving cars in 2009.  Read More

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How Much Will Your Taxes Jump?

In the nick of time, and amid much political drama, Congress passed the American Taxpayer Relief Act on New Year’s Day—averting massive tax increases for nearly all earners that were slated to take effect Jan. 1.

Even so, millions of people soon will feel something less than relief from the new law.

Tim Foley

The bill approved in Congress to avert the fiscal cliff would bring the first major tax increase on high earners in 20 years. Laura Saunders breaks down how new tax increases will impact across different tax brackets. Photo: AP.While the top 1% of taxpayers will bear the biggest burden, many other families, affluent and poor, will pay more as well.The most immediate change affects nearly all workers: Congress allowed a two-percentage-point cut for the employee portion of the Social Security tax to expire. As a result, each will owe up to $2,425 more in payroll tax this year than in 2012.Beyond that, the new law’s effects will be highly individualized—and in some cases highly painful.”Many affluent people in exactly the same financial position as last year will see a substantial tax increase,” says David Kautter, a director of the Kogod Tax Center at American University.

Back-Door Tax Increases
At first glance the law appears simple. In terms of income tax, for example, only the highest tax rate in 2012—the 35% bracket—will increase in 2013, to 39.6%. And that applies only to individuals with at least $400,000 of taxable income or couples with at least $450,000.  Read More
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