Raise your hand if you’ve ever dinged your car door against another car (or a pole or a wall) when opening it. It’s a scenario that plays itself out probably millions of times a day around the world in tight parking spaces, leaving vehicles with unsightly dents and scratches. Sometimes the motor industry gets so involved with sexy new technology like autonomous-driving features and ever-fancier infotainment systems, that some of the essential practicalities of life with a car - like opening and closing doors - are largely forgotten. There was initially little technological trailblazing in this area since the invention of the horseless carriage over 120 years ago, and for a long time the role of a car’s portals – much like the humble barn door – was to simply open and close. Until recently, that is, when minivans started offering power-operated sliding doors, and high-end luxury cars brought us doors that “suck” closed instead of having to be slammed and doors that stop exactly at th...

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