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The European Parliament, the Council and the Commission reached a political agreement to significantly raise the quality level and independence of vehicle type-approval and testing, increase checks of cars that are already on the EU market and strengthen the overall system with European oversight.

The EU co-legislators have reached an agreement on the Commission proposal from January 2016 to fully overhaul the EU 'type-approval' framework: the rules for certifying that a vehicle meets all requirements to be placed on the market and for rigorous checking of manufacturers' ongoing compliance with EU law. 

Jyrki Katainen, Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, said: "With tighter rules which are policed more strictly, the car industry has the chance to regain consumers' trust. Just a few weeks after the Commission's clean mobility proposals, today's agreement marks yet another milestone in the EU's wider efforts to reinforce our car industry's global leadership in clean and safe vehicles." 

Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska, responsible for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, said: "Dieselgate has revealed the weaknesses of our regulatory and market surveillance system. We know that some car manufacturers were cheating and many others were exploiting loopholes. To put an end to this, we are overhauling the whole system. After almost two years of negotiations, I welcome that the key elements of our proposal have been upheld, including real EU oversight and enforcement powers. In the future, the Commission will be able to carry out checks on cars, trigger EU-wide recalls, and impose fines of up to €30,000 per car when the law is broken."  

The main building blocks of the new rules are: 

  1. Raise the quality level and independence of type-approval and testing before a car is placed on the market:

    Technical services will be regularly and independently audited, on the basis of stringent performance criteria, to obtain and maintain their designation by a Member State for testing and inspecting new car models. The Commission and other Member States will be able to challenge a designation when something is wrong.

    National type-approval authorities will be subject to Commission audits to ensure that the relevant rules are implemented and enforced rigorously across the EU.

    The Commission's proposal to modify the remuneration system to avoid that technical services are paid directly by the manufacturer was not maintained. 

  2. Increase checks of cars that are already on the EU market:

    While the current type-approval rules deal mainly with ex ante controls of prototypes taken from the production line, in the future Member States will have to carry out regular spot-checks on vehicles already on their market and such results will be made publicly available.

    All Member States will now be able to immediately take safeguard measures against non-compliant vehicles on their territory without having to wait for the authority that issued the type-approval to take action, as is currently still the case. 

  3. European oversight:

    In the future, the Commission will carry out market checks independently from Member States and will have the possibility to initiate EU-wide recalls. It will have the power to challenge the designation of technical services, and to impose administrative penalties on manufacturers or technical services of up to €30,000 per non-compliant car.

    The Commission will lead a new enforcement forumto ensure a more uniform interpretation of relevant EU legislation, complete transparency on cases of non-compliance, and better and more coordinated market surveillance activities by Member States.

The new Regulation maintains the current ban on defeat devices, which national authorities have a standing obligation to police and enforce, but goes a step further. In the future, car manufacturers will have to provide access to the car's software protocols. This measure goes hand in hand with the Real Driving Emissions package, which will make it very difficult to circumvent emission requirements and includes an obligation for manufacturers to disclose their emissions reduction strategies, as is the case in the U.S. 

The Type-Approval Regulation complements a number of other important Commission initiatives for clean mobility, including new and improved car emissions tests which became mandatory on 1 September 2017, and proposals for new CO2 emissions targets to help accelerate the transition to low- and zero emission vehicles.

Next steps 

The preliminary political agreement reached by the European Parliament, Council and Commission in so-called trilogue negotiations is now subject to formal approval by the European Parliament and Council. The Regulation will then be directly applicable in all Member States and will become mandatory on 1 September 2020.

Background  

Under current rules, the EU sets the legal framework but national authorities are fully responsible for checking car manufacturers' compliance. Once a car is certified in one Member State, it can circulate freely throughout the EU. Only the national authority that type approved a car can take remedial action such as ordering a recall and imposing administrative penalties in case of non-compliance. 

The Commission was already reviewing the EU type-approval framework for motor vehicles prior to the Volkswagen revelations in September 2015. It then concluded on the need for more far-reaching reform to prevent cases of non-compliance from happening again, which it proposed on 27 January 2016

In parallel, the Commission continues to monitor whether current rules are being correctly enforced by Member States and is closely following national authorities' efforts regarding polluting cars already in circulation. 

The Commission has supported Member States' work by developing a common testing methodology to screen for defeat devices altering the results of laboratory tests and ensure consistency of results of national investigations. It has published guidance to help Member States' authorities assess whether a car manufacturer is using defeat devices or other strategies that lead to higher vehicle emissions outside of the test cycle and analyse whether they are technically justified. 

The Commission also ensures that competition rules are respected and will continue to do so, in addition to ensuring that consumers are treated fairly. 

The electric hypercar will have level 3 autonomous driving system and will be capable of hitting 0-100 kmph in less than 2 seconds.

Iconic Italian design firm Pininfarina, owned by Mahindra & Mahindra, is branching out to manufacturing of electric luxury cars under the new brand Automobili Pininfarina. Its first model will be an electric hypercar scheduled for launch in 2020.

XPENG Motors on Monday announced at a Hong Kong press conference the kick-off of its Series B capital funding of RMB 2.2 billion, with Alibaba Group, Foxconn and IDG Capital as three major investors. That will bring the total raised by XPENG Motors in capital market to over RMB 5 billion, marking a milestone in efficient, integrated funding for a company in the automobile sector.

This Series B capital funding brings together global giants in finance, equity capital, technology and manufacturing. Alibaba Group, one of China's leading internet companies was a key round A+ investor and remains one of the major investors in round B. Global manufacturing giant Foxconn and leading global investment firm IDG Capital, have also invested in this Series B round. Other Co-investors in Series B include Yunfeng Capital and China International Capital Corporation Limited. Series A+ investors, such as GGV Capital, Morningside Venture Capital, and Matrix Partners, appear again on the list of investors of this new round of fundraising. Individual investors include Yuri Milner, a globally renowned investor in science and technology.

Among those speaking at the news conference were Joe Tsai , Executive Vice Chairman of Alibaba Group; Yang Fei, IDG Capital partner; Lu Qingsong from Foxconn Group; and He Xiaopeng, Chairman of XPENG Motors.

"Alibaba is the world's leading science and technology company, Foxconn is the world's benchmark company for high-tech manufacturing, and IDG Capital is the world's top investment entity. It is, thus, an important milestone for XPENG Motors that Alibaba, Foxconn, and IDG capital are the joint lead investors in this round of fundraising," said He Xiaopeng, Chairman of XPENG Motors.

"Though financing is crucial to the survival and development of Internet-based auto companies, what is decisive for such companies is product innovation ability, the ability to turn an idea into reality in an era when products are rapidly upgraded and the user-centered approach adopted by the best product managers," He added. "XPENG Motors' G3 is set to be launched in the market this year. We will continue to announce and carry out a variety of transboundary co-operations with our dear partners."

Joe Tsai, Executive Vice Chairman of Alibaba Group, said: "Smart transportation has great potential to become one of the fastest growing sectors, making huge impact on people's daily lives," Tsai added. "XPENG Motors combines the advantages of the internet, artificial intelligence and traditional manufacturing. Alibaba is very excited to work together with XPENG Motors to accelerate the integration and innovation across sectors, leading to more rapid development in smart transportation."

"A strategic area of investment for us, the new energy sector is constantly causing profound changes in the global industrial structure and in our daily lives. Electric, intelligent, and Internet-connected cars are an inevitable result of the reform of the new energy sector, and an irreversible direction of development for the auto industry," IDG Capital partner Yang Fei said.

"Among the newcomers in the auto industry, XPENG Motors has an inherent Internet-based gene for auto manufacturing, and has shown its ability to bring about practical, highly efficient innovation in the fields of intelligent Internet, automatic driving, and data mining. We believe that the Internet-connected model being forged by XPENG Motors has the potential to become the mainstream choice of the younger generation," Yang added. "Traditional manufacturing as a whole is heading toward a new era of high tech and artificial intelligence. Just as their traditional auto counterparts, new Internet-based auto companies will also be in the vanguard of intelligent transport."

Further praise for XPENG Motors came from Lu Songqiong, Chairman and CEO of Foxconn Interconnect Technology, who said, "With our 40 years of experience and technology ability, Foxconn will support XPENG Motors to pursue technology and quality and effectively strike a balance between the two. And we are happy to be deeply involved in the development of Internet-connected cars at such a crucial time."

In December 2017, XPENG Motors announced the close of its Series A0, A1, and A2 rounds of A+ funding; the money raised in Series A0 came from Alibaba Group and He Xiaopeng himself; in Series A1 from GGV Capital, Morningside Venture Capital, IDG capital, Matrix Partners China, and jointly from Shunwei Capital and Guangkong Zhongying Capital; and in round A2 from Xin Ding Capital, Kinzon Capital, and Lightspeed Venture Partners. In May 2017, XPENG Motors received an investment of RMB 2.2 billion, led by Ucar Capital, a fund established by Ucar Inc. In addition, individual investors of XPENG Motors in the Series A+ round of fundraising include Internet tycoons Yao Jinbo, founder and CEO of classified information platform 58.com; Zhang Tao, founder of the restaurant review platform Dianping.com; and Dai Kebin, founder and CEO of the job-hunting website liepin.com.

Of all the Internet-based newcomers in the auto industry, XEPNG Motors has always taken the lead in each of the key stages of development. Its new cars, ranging from the Beta model and production model (1.0) to XPENG Motors G3 (2.0), have been upgraded twice, and its strong ability to deliver and turn ideas into reality has been universally recognized by industry insiders. Among the newcomers in the auto industry, XPENG Motors was the first to have launched, in September 2016, its Beta model, accompanied by its first test drive. XPENG Motors was also the first to have been granted, in July 2017, product qualification by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the first to have achieved mass production in October 2017, when the first batch of its production cars (1.0) was successfully released in Zhengzhou, and again the first to have delivered, on December 3, 2017, a production model (1.0) with a Beijing plate number to its first owner He Xiaopeng. The XPENG Motors Intelligent Internet-connected Science and Technology Park, with an area of 3,000 mu (200 hectares) and an investment of RMB 10 billion (Zhaoqing Base), officially got underway on December 11, 2017. In January 2018, at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), XPENG Motors showed to the world, for the first time, its G3 production model.

XPENG Motors G3 is an aesthetically pleasing, high-tech and high-quality, all-electric SUV. The shape of the G3 is a tribute to sportsmanship, with a LED sword-style lighting, sharp front lip, as well as one-piece diamond matrix taillight. In addition, the G3 model features a 360-degree roof camera - an industry first, a space-capsule-like driving space that is unique for a Chinese brand, a set of 25 intelligent sensors, as well as automatic drive techniques that is especially suited to Asia's driving environment.

The G3 is set to be on sale in 2018, and that is when its detailed setup and price will be made public.

Shanghai Motor Show of the five seater SUV K550 and the seven seater SUV K750, the new four seater SUV K350 joins the range of environmentally friendly vehicles developed for Hybrid Kinetic Group, demonstrating once again Pininfarina’s ability to combine styling research to environmental sustainability. The electric concept car will be unveiled together with sedan H500 at Auto China 2018 on April 25 on the HK booth.

Volkswagen is ramping up its e-mobility strategy to plan 16 production sites around the world for electric vehicles by the end of 2022. It also says that future partnerships with battery manufacturers have been agreed for Europe and China. The push for e-mobility comes as VW continues to deal with its 'dieselgate' scandal and associated costs.

The e-mobility ramp-up was announced by VW Group CEO Matthias Müller in Berlin at VW's shareholder AGM.

VW Group currently produces electric vehicles at three locations, and in two years' time a further nine group plants are scheduled to be equipped for this purpose. To ensure adequate battery capacity for the massive expansion of environmentally-friendly electric mobility, partnerships with battery manufacturers for Europe and China have already been agreed with contracts totalling around EUR20bn. VW also said a 'supplier decision for North America will be taken shortly'.

"Over the last few months, we have pulled out all the stops to implement 'Roadmap E' with the necessary speed and determination," Müller said. When "Roadmap E" was launched last year, Volkswagen announced plans to build up to three million electric vehicles annually by 2025 and market 80 new electric group models. This year, another nine new vehicles, three of which will be purely electric-powered, will be added to the group's electric portfolio of eight e-cars and plug-in hybrids.

From 2019, there will be a new electric vehicle "virtually every month", Müller said: "This is how we intend to offer the largest fleet of electric vehicles in the world, across all brands and regions, in just a few years."

He also said this did not mean Volkswagen was turning its back on conventional drive systems. Modern diesel drives were part of the solution, not part of the problem, he said – also with regard to climate change. "We are making massive investments in the mobility of tomorrow, but without neglecting current technologies and vehicles that will continue to play an important role for decades to come," said Müller. "We are putting almost EUR20bn into our conventional vehicle and drive portfolio in 2018, with a total of more than EUR90bn scheduled over the next five years."

Nissan today unveiled the Nissan Sylphy Zero Emission, Nissan's first electric car made in China for Chinese consumers, at Auto China 2018.

The new model offers the exciting performance of a 100% electric powertrain. Its advanced technologies and spacious cabin offer convenience and comfort. Drivers will be able to enjoy an extended drive range of 338 kilometers, according to official Chinese standards.

2GETTHERE SIGNS MOU FOR NTU2GETTHERE SIGNS MOU FOR NTU

Today, 2getthere, the Utrecht-based company specializing in autonomous transit systems, Nanyang Technological University and SMRT Services have joined forces to deploy fully automated Group Rapid Transit autonomous vehicles on the NTU Smart Campus by 2019. The three parties signed a Memorandum of Understanding at a ceremony, paving the way for the GRT to be integrated into NTU’s transport network. The new GRTs will be tested on NTU’s campus in a few phases, which will start around the last quarter this year. The vehicles are expected to operate a service route that connects NTU’s halls of residences with the main academic areas, serving 200 to 300 passengers daily.

The 2getthere silent roadster uses magnetic pellets on the road for autonomous navigation and can travel in both directions. It has a top speed of 40 kilometres per hour and can ferry 24 passengers with seating space for eight. The collaboration will also involve conducting research to improve autonomous vehicle technologies such as increasing the use of artificial intelligence, developing advanced sensors and sensor fusion algorithms, and improving fleet management technologies. The trial would be gradually expanded campus-wide, running alongside other autonomous vehicles that have already been undergoing tests since 2012. This latest testbedding of autonomous vehicles is part of the university’s Smart Campus initiative to develop rapidly advancing transport technologies to benefit the NTU community and society.

NTU KNOWS WHAT IT WANTS

Mr Sjoerd van der Zwaan, Chief Technology Officer of 2getthere, stated, “It is exciting to be able to work together with NTU and SMRT while capitalising on the synergy of an actual AV implementation and investing in research simultaneously. NTU has ample experience with autonomous vehicles and knows exactly what it wants and what it doesn’t want – in terms of availability, reliability, quality, safety and AV features such as comfort and user experience. In combination with SMRT’s operations expertise, all key ingredients are present to ensure a successful implementation of our AVs at NTU. We look forward to our continued cooperation.”

NTU President Professor Subra Suresh, said, “NTU’s campus is not only a living testbed for innovative technologies, but also the first to test driverless vehicles on Singapore roads. Autonomous vehicles are an integral part of the NTU Smart Campus vision, which leverages tech-enabled solutions to create better living and learning experiences. This new collaboration with SMRT and 2getthere highlights our goal of developing cutting-edge transport solutions that will benefit Singapore and beyond.”

Mr Desmond Kuek, President and Group CEO of SMRT, said, “NTU is a leading research institution in AV technology. SMRT is proud to work with NTU and 2getthere to deploy the first operational AV service in Singapore. This MoU marks the commitment of the three parties in leveraging the latest AV technology for our public transport system and redefine the standard for a world-class transport service.”

The GRT had undergone preliminary tests along a 350-metre route between two NTU halls of residences since November last year. During the trials, close to 4,000 passengers were ferried between the two stops.

PART OF THE JOINT MAAS TESTBED

The GRT was introduced to NTU as part of the Mobility-as-a-Service testbed, a collaboration between NTU, JTC and SMRT last September. The testbed seeks to integrate multiple modes of transport, including shuttle buses, bike sharing systems, e-scooters and e-bikes, and the autonomous GRT into a single mobility platform called jalan-jalan, developed by mobilityX to improve connectivity and travel within NTU’s campus and JTC’s CleanTech Park in Jurong Innovation District, which will be the largest living lab in Singapore. Jalan-jalan is a Malay term for ‘going for a walk’.

The smartphone application jalan-jalan received strong support during its pilot run between NTU’s campus and JTC’s CleanTech Park from last August. Just for e-scooters alone, the app was used to book over 67,000 trips, clocking a total mileage of over 80,000 kilometres.

Edward Lim Xun Qian, President of NTU’s Student Union, said, “The app allows a seamless and convenient way to travel around NTU’s large campus, right from our halls to our classes. Not only does it help us book Personal Mobility Devices such as e-scooters, the app is also integrated with public and shuttle buses around campus, providing an all-in-one transport solution for students.”

Colin Lim, mobilityX CEO said, “The NTU and CTP community have a greater range of transport options, and have experienced improved connectivity through innovative first-and-last mile transport solutions like the AV and scooter and bicycle sharing. For example, the utilisation rate of each scooter at approximately 20 trips/day is one of the highest in Singapore.”

Glory Wee, Director, Aerospace, Marine and Urban Solutions, JTC said, “We are delighted by the positive response from the CleanTech Park community on the trial. Urban solutions, such as Mobility-as-a-Service, help us improve the travel experience of the communities in JTC’s estates and lay the foundation for next-generation connectivity and mobility infrastructure in our new estates.”

Currently serving 12 stops on NTU’s campus and the CleanTech Park area, the app will gradually include more stops and manage more mobility options based on users’ feedback and test results.

NI, the provider of platform-based systems that enable engineers and scientists to solve the world’s greatest engineering challenges, announced today that major automotive manufacturers like Subaru are using NI hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) technology to simulate actual road conditions for electric vehicle testing, eliminating environmental factors to reduce test time and costs.

Traditionally, engineers have conducted vehicle tests using finished cars on test courses or public roads to check the vehicle’s performance and safety response. However, certain limitations, such as weather and fluctuating road surface conditions, can make it difficult to conduct reproducible tests on roads in a timely manner. Moreover, electric vehicles are extremely complex due to their many subsystems, which are all interdependent on each other. This complexity makes the job challenging for automotive test engineers with short development cycles and pressure to limit costs.

To combat these issues, Subaru replaced the roads in the validation tests with a NI HIL simulation solution built on NI PXI products and LabVIEW software. With the HIL system, Subaru can eliminate environmental factors and thoroughly and efficiently test a vehicle’s embedded controller in a virtual environment before running real-world diagnostics on the complete system.

“By using NI PXI products and LabVIEW, we were able to completely implement a customized HIL system in just one to two weeks and develop our software in-house,” said Daisuke Umiguchi, Electrified Power Unit Research and Experiment Dept., Subaru Corporation. “This helped us keep product purchasing costs to around one-third of the cost of adopting solutions from other companies, and, because of our familiarity with LabVIEW, keep our software development costs to around one-sixth of the cost of commissioning an outside developer.”

Subaru further outfitted its vehicle test solution with a controller-driven dynamometer by HORIBA and CarSim vehicle dynamics simulation software deployed by Virtual Mechanics. Together, they produce load conditions equivalent to those generated on actual roads. This driving system transmits the calculated values to the NI HIL system in real time to create closed-loop control between the models on the HIL system and the driving system. As a result, the HIL interaction system can apply the appropriate load to the vehicle throughout the tests.

Subaru plans to use this test system at the final stages of development for electric vehicles as a final quality check, and eventually expand its use for all car types. By adopting this system, Subaru anticipates reducing labor hours by half compared to conventional methods.

 

Commercial launch of the Terra HP fast charger places ABB at the forefront of EV-charging technology.

By operating at powers of up to 350 kilowatts, the newest model from ABB, Terra High Power charger, adds up to 200 kilometers of range to an electric vehicle in just 8 minutes. The new charger is ideally suited for use at highway rest stops and petrol stations.

Following assignments by Bluewaters Island (Dubai) and Nanyang Technological University (Singapore), Brussels Airport and De Lijn have decided to partner with 2getthere for the Brussels Airport Autonomous Shuttle. 2getthere’s fully autonomous (self-driving) shuttles will link Brussels Airport with the long term parking area. Brussels Airport is the first European airport to use autonomous shuttles in fully mixed traffic.Following assignments by Bluewaters Island (Dubai) and Nanyang Technological University (Singapore), Brussels Airport and De Lijn have decided to partner with 2getthere for the Brussels Airport Autonomous Shuttle. 2getthere’s fully autonomous (self-driving) shuttles will link Brussels Airport with the long term parking area. Brussels Airport is the first European airport to use autonomous shuttles in fully mixed traffic.

The vehicles are expected to hit the road in 2021, after an intensive pilot phase, starting in 2019. Four other constructors were in the race for this highly desirable assignment. Please find below the joint Press Release by Brussels Airport and De Lijn.Following assignments by Bluewaters Island (Dubai) and Nanyang Technological University (Singapore), Brussels Airport and De Lijn have decided to partner with 2getthere for the Brussels Airport Autonomous Shuttle. 2getthere’s fully autonomous (self-driving) shuttles will link Brussels Airport with the long term parking area. Brussels Airport is the first European airport to use autonomous shuttles in fully mixed traffic. The vehicles are expected to hit the road in 2021, after an intensive pilot phase, starting in 2019. Four other constructors were in the race for this highly desirable assignment. Please find below the joint Press Release by Brussels Airport and De Lijn.

BRUSSELS AIRPORT AUTONOMOUS SHUTTLE

The board of directors of De Lijn and the management committee of Brussels Airport Company have given the go-ahead for the first phase with a self-driving electric bus on the airport. The vehicle that is being developed for this, will be one of the first to drive in Belgium in mixed traffic. After the summer of 2019, tests without passengers will begin at 2getthere’s testsite in Utrecht. The shuttle bus will arrive at Brussels Airport in the beginning of 2020 for further tests.The board of directors of De Lijn and the management committee of Brussels Airport Company have given the go-ahead for the first phase with a self-driving electric bus on the airport. The vehicle that is being developed for this, will be one of the first to drive in Belgium in mixed traffic. After the summer of 2019, tests without passengers will begin at 2getthere’s testsite in Utrecht. The shuttle bus will arrive at Brussels Airport in the beginning of 2020 for further tests.

PIONEERING

In 2015, Brussels Airport Company and De Lijn entered into a partnership with the intent to deploy self-driving shuttles at the airport. After further study and the choice of the constructor, both companies gave full support to the pilot project for testing an autonomous shuttle on the airport grounds.

“As intermodal hub where various means of transport connect seamlessly with each other, Brussels Airport is constantly studying new possibilities for expanding this hub in a sustainable way. This technologically innovative project deploying a self-driving electric bus operating a fixed route, also fits in with our environmental commitment to keep the impact on our surroundings as low as possible”, says Arnaud Feist, CEO of Brussels Airport Company.

“Flanders is taking on the role of pioneer”, says Flemish Minister for Mobility Ben Weyts. “In other countries driverless vehicles are already operational, but that is often in a separate lane with a steward on board. Here, the aim is to have the self-driving shuttle drive autonomously on the public roads. This is cutting-edge technology that really appeals to the imagination. We are making an investment in the future, in greater efficiency and in a more attractive range of public transport.”

2 YEAR TESTS2 YEAR TESTS

2getthere will start the project in the coming weeks. The contract is divided into two phases. The first phase covers the development and thorough testing of the technology until the middle of 2020. In autumn 2019, 2getthere will be conducting the first vehicle tests at its testsite in Utrecht. Upon successful completion, the first self-driving bus will arrive at Brussels Airport in the beginning of 2020 for further test drives at the airport. The test route for this development stage is in the Brucargo business zone.

The first phase with tests and development of the self-driving bus will take two years. In this period, De Lijn and Brussels Airport Company can perform all necessary safety tests in various weather conditions and traffic situations. During the test period, no passengers, visitors or staff will be on board.
PASSENGERS BY 2021

Upon a positive evaluation of the first phase of testing, De Lijn and Brussels Airport Company can deploy the self-driving shuttle from 2021 onwards on the airport grounds for the transport of passengers, visitors and staff on the route between the terminal and Brucargo.

Brussels Airport Company and De Lijn are sharing the project costs. De Lijn is responsible for the costs associated with people who travel by public transport (De Lijn, MIVB, NMBS) to the airport. The airport operator will foot the costs for the transport of persons who come to the airport by other means of transport.

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