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nVidia AI Base Mercedes Benz In Development

February 13, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Mercedes has unveiled its new A-Class at the event in Amsterdam last night, which is the first Mercedes car to feature the Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) infotainment system powered by Nvidia.

While the new Mercedes-Benz A-Class is quite an impressive hatchback which will enter series production this spring, it is also the first car with the new Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) infotainment system as a standard feature.

Powered by an Nvidia chip, the MBUX is described as a system that combines natural language processing, “silky-smooth” 3D graphics and an augmented reality boosted navigation system, bringing both better intuitive interactive and safety. The MBUX system will be available in three display versions, two 7-inch, 7-inch, and 10.25-inch or two 10.25-inch displays.

Although it looks like two tablets stitched together and placed where the dashboard should go, Nvidia claims that the chip will have more than enough computational capabilities to even support new and future applications. As it is updateable over-the-air and as speech and AI applications evolve, MBUX has the potential to offer much more.

Ola Källenius, board member for group research and Mercedes-Benz car development said that the company’s mission was to take the user experience to a new level and by choosing the best technology available for AI they created a learning system that will better anticipate your preference the longer you use it.

The MBUX also has speech recognition and indirect commands, it will not only understand simple phrases like “raise temperature” but also much more complex ones like the “I’m cold. Make it warmer in here.”

“Natural language with AI will be the preferred method of interacting with the car,” said Georges Massing, Daimler AG’s director of user interaction. “That’s because speech is the easiest — and safest — way to interact.”

The Mercedes-Benz A-Class will be the first car to get the MBUX but similar versions will also be available across its entire vehicle lineup in future.

Courtesy-Fud

Uber Agrees To $245M Settlement With Google’s Waymo

February 12, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Uber Technologies Inc will shell out $245 million worth of its own shares to Alphabet Inc’s Waymo self-driving vehicle unit to end a legal dispute over trade secrets, allowing Uber’s chief executive to move past one of the company’s most bruising public controversies.

The settlement announcement on Friday brought an abrupt halt to the captivating case just before the fifth day of testimony was to begin at a jury trial in federal court in San Francisco.

In a lawsuit filed last year, Waymo said that one of its former engineers who became chief of Uber’s self-driving car project took with him thousands of confidential documents.

The lawsuit cost Uber precious time in its self-driving car ambition, which is a key to its long-term profitability. Uber fired its self-driving chief after Waymo sued, and it is well behind on its plans to deploy fleets of autonomous cars in one of the most lucrative races in Silicon Valley.

The settlement allows Uber’s chief executive officer, Dara Khosrowshahi, to put another scandal behind the company and move ahead with development of self-driving technology, following the tumultuous leadership by former CEO Travis Kalanick, who testified at the trial on Tuesday and Wednesday.

As part of the deal, Waymo gets a 0.34 percent stake in Uber, worth about $245 million based on Uber’s current $72 billion valuation, a Waymo representative said. The settlement includes an agreement to ensure that Waymo confidential information is not being incorporated into Uber technology, which Waymo has said was its main goal in bringing the lawsuit.

In settlement talks last year, Waymo had sought at least $1 billion from Uber, and wanted an independent monitor to ensure that Uber would not use Waymo technology in the future, Reuters reported. Waymo also asked for an apology. Uber rejected those terms as non-starters.

Waymo had agreed earlier this week to a settlement proposal valued at $500 million, and Khosrowshahi brought the proposal to the Uber board of directors, offering his support.

But Uber’s board rejected those terms on Tuesday, two sources familiar with the discussions said, sending Khosrowshahi and chief legal officer Tony West back to renegotiate.

In the interim, the famously pugnacious Kalanick testified in court, maintaining a calm demeanor as he answered questions about Uber’s soured relationship with Alphabet and his admiration for Anthony Levandowski, the self-driving-car engineer whose actions led to the lawsuit.

After four days of testimony, Waymo had presented little public evidence that Uber used Waymo’s trade secrets.

By late Thursday, Waymo agreed to the $245 million deal, one of the sources said.

In a statement on Friday, Khosrowshahi expressed “regret” for Uber’s actions.

“While we do not believe that any trade secrets made their way from Waymo to Uber, nor do we believe that Uber has used any of Waymo’s proprietary information in its self-driving technology, we are taking steps with Waymo to ensure our Lidar and software represents just our good work,” Khosrowshahi said in a statement.

Ford Aims For 22 Electric Vehicles By 2022

January 16, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Ford Motor Co will significantly increase its planned investments in electric vehicles to $11 billion by 2022 and have 40 hybrid and fully electric vehicles in its model lineup, Chairman Bill Ford announced at the Detroit auto show.

The investment figure is sharply higher than a previously announced target of $4.5 billion by 2020, Ford executives said, and includes the costs of developing dedicated electric vehicle architectures. Ford’s engineering, research and development expenses for 2016, the last full year available, were $7.3 billion, up from $6.7 billion in 2015.

Ford Chief Executive Jim Hackett told investors in October the automaker would slash $14 billion in costs over the next five years and shift capital investment away from sedans and internal combustion engines to develop more trucks and electric and hybrid cars.

Of the 40 electrified vehicles Ford plans for its global lineup by 2022, 16 will be fully electric and the rest will be plug-in hybrids, executives said.

“We’re all in on this and we’re taking our mainstream vehicles, our most iconic vehicles, and we’re electrifying them,” Ford told reporters. “If we want to be successful with electrification, we have to do it with vehicles that are already popular.”

General Motors Co, Toyota Motor Corp and Volkswagen AG  have already outlined aggressive plans to expand their electric vehicle offerings and target consumers who want luxury, performance and an SUV body style – or all three attributes in the same vehicle.

Mainstream automakers are reacting in part to pressure from regulators in China, Europe and California to slash carbon emissions from fossil fuels. They also are under pressure from

 Tesla Inc’s success in creating electric sedans and SUVs that inspire would-be owners to line up outside showrooms and flood the company with orders.

GM said last year it would add 20 new battery electric and fuel cell vehicles to its global lineup by 2023, financed by robust profits from traditional internal combustion engine vehicles in the United States and China.

GM Chief Executive Mary Barra has promised investors the Detroit automaker will make money selling electric cars by 2021.

Volkswagen said in November it would spend $40 billion on electric cars, autonomous driving and new mobility services by the end of 2022 – significantly more than when it announced two months earlier it would invest more than 20 billion euros on electric and self-driving cars through 2030.

Toyota is racing to commercialize a breakthrough battery technology during the first half of the 2020s with the potential to cut the cost of making electric cars.

Ford’s additional investments in electric vehicles contrasted with many of the vehicle launches at the Detroit show which featured trucks and SUVs. On Sunday evening, Daimler AG unveiled its new G-class SUV, a bulky off roader, in an abandoned movie theater in downtown Detroit once used as a set for the movie “8 Mile.”

Nvidia Teams With Uber And Volkwagen On Self-driving

January 9, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Nvidia Corp is teaming up with Uber Technologies Inc and Volkswagen AG as the graphics chipmaker’s artificial intelligence platforms make further gains in the autonomous vehicle industry.

The company, which already has partnerships in the industry with companies such as carmaker Tesla and China’s Baidu, makes computer graphics chips and has been expanding into technology for self-driving cars.

Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang said at the CES technology conference in Las Vegas that Uber’s self-driving car fleet was using their technology to help its autonomous cars perceive the world and make split-second decisions.

Uber has been using Nvidia’s GPU computing technology since its first test fleet of Volvo SC90 SUVs were deployed in 2016 in Pittsburgh and Phoenix.

 Uber’s autonomous driving program has been shaken this year by a lawsuit filed in San Francisco by rival Waymo alleging trade secret theft.

Nvidia said development of the Uber self-driving program had, nevertheless, gained steam with one million autonomous miles being driven in just the past 100 days.

With Volkswagen, Nvidia said it was infusing its artificial intelligence technology into the German automakers’ future lineup, using their new Drive IX platform. The technology will enable so-called “intelligent co-pilot” capabilities based on processing sensor data inside and outside the car.

So far, 320 companies involved in self-driving cars – whether software developers, automakers and their suppliers, sensor and mapping companies – are using Nvidia Drive, formerly branded as the Drive PX2, the company said.

 

Is Google Home Vulnerable To A BlueBorne Bluetooth Hack

November 24, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Amazon Echo and Google Home devices are vulnerable to attacks via the BlueBorne Bluetooth vulnerability that was first disclosed back in September.

Security firm Armis said this week that BlueBorne, a Bluetooth-based attack vector that was initially reported as exploitable on phones and PCs with an active Bluetooth connection, is now setting its sights on digital AI assistants.

The firm said that both the Amazon Echo and Google Home can be exploited using existing BlueBorne vulnerabilities (of which there are eight in total). In the case of the Amazon Echo, those include CVE-2017-1000251 and CVE-2017-1000250, while the Google Home vulnerable to CVE-2017-0785.

Armis notes that BlueBorne represents the first “severe” over-the-air vulnerability that affects the Amazon Echo.

“Given that airborne attacks are virtually invisible to traditional security solutions, a hacker only needs to exploit one device to penetrate further into a network or spread to other devices,” it warned.

Armis CEO Yevgeny Dibrov said: “Burgeoning demand for digital personal assistants is expanding the avenues by which attackers can infiltrate consumers’ lives to steal personal information and commit fraud.

“Consumers and businesses need to be aware how their devices are connecting via Bluetooth, and the networks they may be accessing, in order to take security precautions to protect their information.”

There’s some good news to come out of this, though, as Armis disclosed the vulnerabilities both to Amazon and Google ahead of time, and both have pushed out updates to their respective digital assistants. 

Amazon said in a statement: “A fix has already started rolling out for this. Customer trust is important to us and we take security seriously. Customers do not need to take any action as their devices will be automatically updated with the security fixes.

Google added: “Users do not need to take any action. We automatically patched Google Home several weeks ago, and neither Google nor Armis found evidence of this attack in the wild.

“As always, we appreciate researchers’ efforts to help keep all users safe.”

Courtesy-TheInq

 

Waze Carpool App Looks To Aid Hurricane Harvey Victims

September 8, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

Texans and Louisiana residents affected by Hurricane Harvey can now help each other get around for free with the Waze Carpool app.

Waze announced its carpool app, which usually connects commuters heading to work with a ride, will be available in parts of Texas and Louisana that were affected by Hurricane Harvey. If people have a car with an open seat available, they’ll be able to offer it to other Waze Carpool users who are heading in the same direction. Similarly, people without transportation can request a ride, and they’ll be matched up with an empty seat.

Waze has also set up a Facebook Group to help work together to overcome the loss of 1 million cars and 60,000 damaged structures. Waze is also asking app users to assist their real-time editors in keeping the map up-to-date by calling out road closures, hazards and traffic as it occurs.

Julie Mossler, a spokesperson for Waze, said it’s too early to know if it’s necessary or possible to open up the carpool app in Florida for Hurricane Irma.

Nissan Launches Revamped, Longer Range Leaf Electric Vehicle

September 7, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Nissan Motor Co Ltd has unveiled a revamped Leaf electric vehicle (EV), going head-to-head with Tesla Inc’s Model 3 and hoping to blunt criticism of limited driving ranges undermining EVs’ mass-market appeal.

The automaker said it aims to “double, even triple” annual sales of the previous incarnation, jump-starting demand in major markets such as the United States, and packing new technologies to make up for a shorter driving range than rival offerings.

“If it’s successful, the Leaf will be a major part of the portfolio of Nissan,” Chief Executive Hiroto Saikawa said at a launch for the new version of the world’s best-selling battery-powered car. “EVs will no longer be a niche product.”

The car, on sale in Japan from Oct. 2 and elsewhere in early 2018, can run for 150 miles (241 kilometers) on a single charge according to U.S. regulator estimates, up from its predecessor’s 107 miles due to a bigger, 40 kilowatt hour (kWh) battery.

Prices in Japan will start from 3.15 million yen ($28,992).

 The launch comes after luxury electric car maker Tesla made its first foray into the Leaf’s more affordable price band in July with its $35,000, 220-mile Model 3. Tesla has said it has received half a million orders for the Model 3, indicating the challenge Nissan has in preserving the Leaf’s number-one rank.

Nissan, whose first Leaf was among the first mass-market EVs, has given its marquee model a sporty facelift drawing on its more mainstream designs including the Micra and Rogue, in an effort to dispel the image of EVs being only for the affluent and environment-conscious.

The mid-sized car comes equipped with Nissan’s latest automated functions including single-lane highway driving and self-parking, along with its combined accelerate and brake “e-pedal”.

“The pricing is flat, (yet) we have a full model change… You have autonomous drive technology, a new battery, new powertrain. How can this be unattractive to a young customer?” said Ivan Espinosa, vice president of global product planning.

But for all the improvements, analysts said current EV driving ranges are too short to lure a meaningful number of drivers away from conventional cars, particularly in the U.S. where gasoline prices are historically low.

“Until we see a significant improvement in range and/or economics that feed through to a rise in gasoline prices, EV buyers will be buying for environmental or altruistic reasons,” said Janet Lewis, head of Asia transportation research at Macquarie Securities. “It’s still a very, very niche market.”

Siemens Strengthen Automotive Push With Tass Acquisition

August 31, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

German industrial group Siemens said it will acquire Dutch self-driving software specialist Tass International for an undisclosed sum to strengthen its automotive business.

Tass makes software that can simulate complex traffic scenarios, validate autonomous driving and advanced driver assistance systems and replicate the impact of a car crash on a human body.

It has annual turnover of around 27 million euros ($32.3 million) and around 200 employees.

“Tass International is a proven leader in both integrated safety and autonomous driving, two fields of engineering that are increasingly important for the industry,” Siemens’ Digital Factory unit Chief Executive Jan Mrosik said in a statement.

Siemens said it would combine Tass’s software with its own advanced simulation products as well as electronic design capabilities from recently acquired Mentor Graphics.

Siemens bought Mentor Graphics for $4.5 billion earlier this year. It was its biggest industrial software acquisition.

Tesla Developing Self-driving Electric Truck

August 10, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Tesla Inc is working on a long-haul, electric semi-truck that can drive itself and move in “platoons” that automatically follow a lead vehicle, and is getting closer to testing a prototype, according to an email discussion of potential road tests between the car company and the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), seen by Reuters.

Meanwhile, California officials are meeting with Tesla on Wednesday “to talk about Tesla’s efforts with autonomous trucks,” state DMV spokeswoman Jessica Gonzalez told Reuters.

The correspondence and meeting show that Tesla is putting self-driving technology into the electric truck it has said it plans to unveil in September, and is advancing toward real-life tests, potentially moving it forward in a highly competitive area of commercial transport also being pursued by Uber Technologies Inc and Alphabet Inc’s Waymo.

After announcing intentions a year ago to produce a heavy-duty electric truck, Musk tweeted in April that the semi-truck would be revealed in September, and repeated that commitment at the company’s annual shareholder meeting in June, but he has never mentioned any autonomous-driving capabilities.

Tesla has been a leader in developing self-driving technology for its luxury cars, including the lower-priced Model 3, which it is beginning to manufacture.

Several Silicon Valley companies developing autonomous driving technology are working on long-haul trucks. They see the industry as a prime early market for the technology, citing the relatively consistent speeds and little cross-traffic trucks face on interstate highways and the benefits of allowing drivers to rest while trucks travel.

Some companies also are working on technology for “platooning”, a driving formation where trucks follow one another closely. If trucks at the back of the formation were able to automatically follow a lead vehicle, that could cut the need for drivers.

Silicon Valley startup Peloton Technology, for example, is working with several truck makers including Volvo on its platooning system, which it sees as a precursor to autonomy.

GM, Uber Team Up On Maven Ride-sharing Program

July 17, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

General Motors Co  announced that it is testing its car-sharing operation, Maven, in Australia through a pilot program with ride-hailing company Uber Technologies Inc.

The leasing agreement will allow Uber drivers to rent cars produced by GM’s Australian manufacturer GM Holden, the company said.

“We are testing the adoption of one Maven product – Maven Gig – in Australia through a pilot program in Sydney renting Holden cars to Uber drivers,” Sean Poppitt, communications director at GM Holden, said in a statement.

GM’s Maven Gig program is aimed at helping drivers rent a car on demand for independent gigs such as package delivery, food or grocery delivery, and ridesharing, at a time when more people are expected to take up freelance work.

It is currently operational in San Diego and set to be launched in San Francisco and Los Angeles later this year, GM said in May.

GM announced a similar North American partnership with Uber in November last year.

A spokesman for Uber was not immediately available for comment.

Waze’s iOS App Allows User To Customize Voice Prompts

July 12, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

“In five hundred feet turn right.”

Sometimes a direction that makes sense on paper can be confusing on the road. But that’s OK because the Google-owned Waze is now letting iOS users record their own personalised directions.

You can access the Voice Recorder feature in Waze’s advanced settings by hitting “Sound & voice.” Tap “Voice directions” and you’ll be given the option to record a new voice. Your custom voice pack comes with a link you can share with friends, family and everyone on the internet.

Bought by Google in 2014 for $1 billion, Waze is a community-powered mapping and navigation app that gives you real-time traffic information and road alerts. The Voice Recorder feature was released on Android last month. And in March it introduced integration with Spotify.

Red Digital Cinema Announces 3D Smartphone

July 10, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

Red Digital Cinema Camera Co. said that it will be offering what it described as the “world’s first holographic media machine,” a smartphone with 3D image capabilities.

Red, known for its professional high-definition cameras used for filming movies such as Guardians of the Galaxy and The Hobbit, said its new Hydrogen One Media Machine smartphone will ship in the first quarter of 2018.

The Hydrogen One Media Machine has a 5.7-in “retina-riveting” holographic display, runs Google’s Android OS and incorporates a new high-speed data bus and an “ever-expanding modular component system.”

What the company called “nanotechnology” will allow the smartphone to seamlessly switch between traditional 2D content, holographic multiview content, 3D content and interacting games, which can be viewed in both landscape and portrait modes.

“Wearable displays not spoken here,” the company stated in a press release. “It is no longer necessary to carry (or charge) another device to enjoy multi-dimensional content.”

Red said it has also created its own file type, called “Hydrogen 4-View content.” Like Apple’s iCloud service, video and photos will automatically be stored via the company’s Red Channel, which also users to stream holographic games and movies.

The company also created a proprietary firmware algorithm that converts stereo sound into multi-dimensional audio. “Think 5.1 on your headphones,” the company stated in its marketing material.

Because of its modular design, the smartphone will be able to incorporate future attachments for shooting higher-quality motion and holographic still images. The smartphone will also integrate into the Red camera program, enabling it to work with the company’s Scarlet, EPIC and Weapon line of 8K cameras to act as a user interface and monitor.

The Hydrogen One will come with a USB-C cable and charger and an expandable micro SD card slot.

The Hydrogen One comes unlocked and with a steep price tag: $1,195 for the “Aluminum” model, and $1,595 cost for the “Titanium” version.

Volvo Enlists Nvidia For Self-driving Car Technology

June 28, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Volvo Cars and Swedish car safety supplier Autoliv have team up with U.S. firm Nvidia Corp, best known for its graphics technology in computer games, to develop software systems for self-driving cars.

A joint venture between Volvo, owned by China’s Zhejiang Geely Holdings, and Autoliv will work with NVIDIA to develop systems that use artificial intelligence to recognize objects around vehicles, anticipate threats and navigate safely.

The venture set up last year, called Zenuity, will provide Volvo Cars with self-driving software which Autoliv will also be able to sell to other carmakers.

Volvo said it aims to have almost fully autonomous cars for sale by 2021.

Volvo has been using Nvidia’s artificial intelligence systems in a pilot of semi-autonomous vehicles in its home town Gothenburg in southern Sweden since the start of the year.

Nvidia, which also has partnerships with carmakers Toyota, Audi and Mercedes, is among the more popular technology partners in the self-driving car race.

German carmaker BMW has joined forces with U.S. chipmaker Intel and Mobileye, the Israeli vision system and mapping expert, to develop a self-driving platform, which is targeted for production in 2021.

U.S. parts maker Delphi Automotive and tire maker Continental has since joined the tie-up.

In April, Germany’s Daimler formed a similar alliance with supplier Robert Bosch  to speed development of self-driving vehicles.

Are Connected Cars On The Rise

June 20, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Demand for connected cars has been rising and the type of vehicles is expected to account for 29.1 per cent of overall car shipments in 2017 and by 2035, according to beancounters at Fuji Keizai.

In a new report the analyst think that by 2035 90 per cent of cars shipped will be equipped with Internet connectivity. It is pretty likely, and so far in the future that most people will have forgotten about the prediction by then anyway.

Car vendors have already started pushing Internet of Things (IoT) service system for their vehicles such as Toyota’s T-Connect, BMW’s Connected Drive and Ford’s Car-Net-App-Connect.

Connected cars using embedded communication modules will enjoy better growth than models using tethered-type and other-type of communication modules, the outfit claimed.

A tethered-type communication module requires an external device such as a smartphone to connect to the Internet, while an embedded one can directly connect to the Internet via its built-in Sim card support.

One of the key events for next-generation IoT for cars will be the development 5G networks among communication device and component makers is expected to accelerate in order to satisfy high-speed transmission demand from the new IoT infotainment systems.

Courtesy-Fud

U.S. Congress Working On Federal Legislation For Self-driving Cars

June 8, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

The U.S. Congress is developing national self-driving vehicle legislation that may replace state-by state rules and make it easier for automakers to test and deploy the technology, senior U.S. House and Senate lawmakers told Reuters on Tuesday.

The chairman of the influential House Energy and Commerce Committee said he planned to unveil a package of legislation to overhaul federal rules governing self-driving vehicles.

“We’re getting very close. I think it’s a good package. We’ve put a lot of work into it,” Representative Greg Walden of Oregon said in an interview, adding that there was “good bipartisan agreeement” and he hoped to unveil and take up the package in the next month or two.

Senator John Thune, a Republican who chairs the Senate Commerce Committee, is also working on a legislative self-driving proposal with Senator Gary Peters, a Michigan Democrat. “We’re not there yet but we are getting closer,” Thune said.

Thune and Walden spoke to Reuters on Tuesday after getting a ride in a self-driving Audi, a unit of Volkswagen AG.

Companies such as Alphabet Inc and Ford Motor Co are aggressively pursuing automated technologies and want unified federal regulations to replace outdated rules and make it simpler to develop and eventually sell the technology across the country.

This spring, Republican staff drafted a summary of 16 potential legislative proposals on federal reforms and regulations that they circulated to automakers and which was seen by Reuters.

Among proposals under consideration is one to allow the U.S. Transportation Department to exempt up to 100,000 autonomous vehicles from current safety standards, which were written on the assumption responsibility for a car’s operation rested with the human driver.

The existing motor vehicle safety standards bar the sale of vehicles without steering wheels and gas pedals, for example. Alphabet Inc’s Waymo unit has called for those rules be changed.

Another proposal would prohibit a state from restricting testing by a manufacturer of up to 250 vehicles and comes as automakers have sparred with California over revisions to its self-driving car testing rules.

Thune said he planned to hold a hearing on June 14 about self-driving car issues but did not put a specific timetable on introducing legislation. He said he wanted to avoid a “patchwork” of regulations from 50 different states on self-driving cars and look at cybersecurity and other issues.

“The key thing is to make sure we stay in the lead on the innovation that there aren’t unnecessary roadblocks in the way, balancing that with safety,” Walden said.

On Monday, the U.S. Transportation Department said it would unveil revised self-driving guidelines within the next few months, responding to automakers’ calls for regulations to sanction costly efforts to put autonomous vehicles on the road.

The voluntary guidelines would provide direction to states on self-driving cars as Congress works to set more permanent rules to oversee autonomous vehicles. But legislation might not be approved this year and states and automakers are eager for guidance from regulators in the interim.

Vehicle crashes annually kill more than 35,000 people on U.S. roads and injure 2.4 million.

Walden said the goal was to get self-driving cars on the roads in big numbers so in a generation people would say: “‘What a bunch of barbarians – they drove themselves? Are you kidding me? And look at how many died every year and they thought that was acceptable?'”

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