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Self-driving taxi with paying passengers tested in Tokyo in world first

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disaster waiting to happen... who will be sued when it runs over a small child? the car company, the navi company or the engineers? what if someone slashes its tires or steals its cash? some innovations are just not necessary

-19 ( +13 / -32 )

Innovation for the sake of it removes choices and the joy of living

-13 ( +9 / -22 )

Clearly the technology can be used to help drivers. It doesn't need to replace them as well. If people want to drive they should be allowed to

2 ( +11 / -9 )

Ditto what Dango said. And what's the point if there are two people just to keep an eye on it?

-11 ( +9 / -20 )

I've had it up to here with that "...by 2020 line." Will the world end after 2020?

11 ( +20 / -9 )

Once there is no driver, I'm going to cut the vehicle off at every opportunity while driving.

As a human I don't want to piss off another human, but I don't mind pissing off a machine because I know for certain it can't have road rage and it can't flip me the bird.

-13 ( +10 / -23 )

Amazing! Critics should realize there is Plenty of time to fine tune the technology before Olympics. It will show the world in 2020 that Japan is the leader in driverless technology. This can now also be adopted for Japanese farms, delivery trucks, construction vehicle etc.

-8 ( +12 / -20 )

how do self driving cars respond to road construction with the little man waiving a flag telling you to go or stop, or potholes or dead animals in the road? Just not a good idea. Almost as bad as amazon delivering good with drones on days it is not raining, snowing or windy....

-10 ( +7 / -17 )

"And what's the point if there are two people just to keep an eye on it?"

Did you skip the part that says "TRIAL"????

7 ( +17 / -10 )

Several lawsuits waiting to happen

-1 ( +11 / -12 )

ZMP Inc, a Tokyo-based developer of autonomous driving technology, and Hinomaru Kotsu Co, said they are the first in the world to offer autonomous taxi services to fare-paying passengers in the test through Sept 8.

Waymo has been quietly operating an autonomous van programme in Phoenix, Arizona for over a year now. 400 passengers everyday, thousands more signed up:

https://www.cnet.com/roadshow/news/2018-waymo-phoenix-arizona-self-driving-car-pilot-program-one-year/

Hinomaru and ZMP said they plan to ask local taxi firms facing serious shortages of drivers to form a syndicate with them, a move aimed at reducing the cost of introducing the new system.

"A syndicate". Comedy gold. At least they're being honest about what it is...

2 ( +10 / -8 )

Dango bong, “what if someone ......steals its cash?”

Did you miss this part?

“Passengers .... will .....make payments through a smartphone app....”

15 ( +18 / -3 )

Glad to see that the Olympics got a mention!

12 ( +15 / -3 )

First of all, is it needed?

-9 ( +5 / -14 )

they should not be rushing this technology just because of the Olympics. The has the potential to a huge advantage or a complete disaster.

i don’t know who designed the graphics on that car, but they should be fired! It looks ridiculous!

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Dunno about "World first" or 2020 or whether this is the best way to trial this, but driverless cars are the future and we should embrace the tech.

Cars are a huge part of the Japanese economy, so it is important to not fall behind.

9 ( +13 / -4 )

Whats with all the negativity. When you look at hows some people drive here this is a welcome alternative.

6 ( +12 / -6 )

In the trial by ZMP and Hinomaru, a minivan equipped with sensors and other autonomous technologies makes four round trips a day between commercial facilities in Tokyo's Otemachi and Roppongi districts,

i know you need to be cautious with new technology but 4 round trips a day? come on, japan. live it a little. i'm sure the car and its drivers can handle twice that a day. lol...

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Ahhhh so autonomous driverless taxis developed by Japanese companies in partnership with current taxi companies is OK and deemed safe...Buuuutttt Uber is not allowed due to safety concerns!!!

This article simply confirms and removes any doubt that. the government is in the pockets of the Taxi Companies lobby. How else can you explain it! This country is so tied up by big business and government the people will always get the short end of the stick!

-5 ( +6 / -11 )

@papigiulio - Whats with all the negativity. When you look at hows some people drive here this is a welcome alternative.

It remains to be seen whether the use of this technology is a welcome alternative or an unsuccessful gimmick.

I'm going to guess payment is made by credit card. Too bad if you don't have a credit card, hey? It's way passed time Japan introduced a direct debit system instead of just cash or credit. Taxis in Australia (and most shops) have had direct debit machines in them for 30 years.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

In addition to my previous comment. How about a test for Uber or similar and it’s services on the streets of Tokyo to check if the so-called safety concerns are warranted and see if it is popular with people?

Same answer I gave in my previous comment applies.

All of this stuff is decided at lavish restaurants and luxury hotel lobbies with plenty of high jinks and cocktails which is fine if it is between between companies brokering a deal. But this has full government backing. I really want to know why this OK and a company such as Uber is not. Specifics please with a side by side analysis of both services! Anything short of that is just BS misdirection!

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

A fixed speed probably on the safe side of the law. Will actually cause other traffic to slow down even further. For passengers to experience, but only those with time on their hands.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

Can't believe all the comments about the "dangers" of this technology, like there are no accidents now, with human drivers... (3.904 death in 2016)

The technology certainly needs to be fine-tuned, but I'm pretty sure the number of accidents will go down with these cars.

11 ( +14 / -3 )

@sf2k

Innovation for the sake of it removes choices and the joy of living

I agree, but what plethora of choices do you have now? Even if this does become a choice it will be the same thing they have now and I bet you the price won’t be any different which, in my accounts book, equals a zero sum gain.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

What?  We don't have enough people wanting to be taxi drivers?  The mindless drive for more and more automation in all walks of life is not always a good thing.  for one, it deprives a large chunk of humanity of work.

0 ( +9 / -9 )

@Wakarimasen - What? We don't have enough people wanting to be taxi drivers? The mindless drive for more and more automation in all walks of life is not always a good thing. for one, it deprives a large chunk of humanity of work.

I guess you missed the part of the article thats states rural taxi companies are going out of business due to a lack of drivers.

8 ( +12 / -4 )

I hope it recompenses the drivers shortage but should be monitored at the company room to avoid accidents, a AI robotic near-miss would happen. And prevention of out-of-gas, it will be fatal...

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

The only "new" thing about this test is that they made the passengers participating in the test pay for that. Usually such vehicles will operate for free-well, because they are being tested))

"Passengers solicited in advance" had to subscribe for this like in June or July,so don't assume anyone can just hop in this taxi.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Good to hear real world applications of self-driving tech has begun. There are a lot of people here bizarrely hostile to the progress of technology, but thankfully there is nothing anyone can do to stop the march of progress. AI *will** *replace unskilled labour, there is nothing that can stop it.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

stupid and idiotic. take a train.

-10 ( +5 / -15 )

Agree with other posters here, cars can only and should only be driven by humans, as they are magnitudes safer and smarter than AI could ever be. Once again TIJ.. Such silliness would never be seen in the West

0 ( +7 / -7 )

disaster waiting to happen... who will be sued when it runs over a small child? the car company, the navi company or the engineers? what if someone slashes its tires or steals its cash? some innovations are just not necessary

oh dear some people just can handle technology, self driving cars will eventually out perform human driver on every level, there will come a time that insurance premiums will increase if you want the option of driving the vehicle yourself. Self driving cars arnt perfect but they take much of the human error out of the equation resulting in safer rds overall

what if someone slashes its tires or steals its cash?

most people will be required to prepay like Uber cars will equipped with cameras and if you can break into the cash dispenser without the doors locking and your ID exposed then your an exception thief, may be easier for normal people to just rob a conbini. If you look at the automation many cars already have , ABS braking , auto braking and Airbags they saved numerous lives over the years , self driving cars will just add extra layer to that safety. Its coming, if you dont like it ride a bike or take a train

-1 ( +8 / -9 )

If people want to drive they should be allowed to nobody is saying they wont, human driven vehicles will be around for decades to come, even many new automated vehicles will give you the chance to change modes, but there will come a time when the technology will far outperform any human driver this will make human drivers more of a hazard on the rd than automated vehicles, you'll still be able to drive yourself but youll likely have to pay a premium for the privilege

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

Amazing! Critics should realize there is Plenty of time to fine tune the technology before Olympics. It will show the world in 2020 that Japan is the leader in riderless technology. This can now also be adopted for Japanese farms, delivery trucks, construction vehicle etc.

If you read that article, a driver and an assistant will be on board, and that is not driver-less. A level 5 automation is what is required for autonomous driver-less car, and right now this is at POC level only, it will be a decade or two before such cars start roaming the roads.

And Japan is no leader in driver-less technology, this science, technology and innovation is all driven by firms across the pacific.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

cars can only and should only be driven by humans, as they are magnitudes safer and smarter than AI could ever be

I think you're gravely underestimating AI. Computers have solved problems that human brains can't for a long time now, and the equipment used in those cars (sensors, radar...) can perceive and compute things in greater details.

Plus driving is not rocket science... If an AI can beat a world class chess player, it can drive a car.

-3 ( +7 / -10 )

These taxis will be much slower than taxi's driven by humans.

Other drivers will quickly learn that the AI is programmed to yield in every single case to avoid a collision at all cost. Everybody will take advantage of this flaw.

For example, when pulling out of a gas station and you see an oncoming AI taxi, just go ahead and pull out in front of it.

The AI can't get angry and it can't flip you the bird and it can't give you a dirty look.

Personally, I would never be rude to a fellow human, but don't ask me to show courtesy to a robot.

-5 ( +5 / -10 )

Possible changes that will occur with the advent of autonomous cars:

-eventual decrease in the number of traffic accidents and deaths

-fewer cars on the road

-repopulation of rural areas as people will be able to commute farther but work in their vehicle, as they would function as portable offices

-parking areas will become unnecessary and the land prices will fall in urban areas because of a rise in supply concurrent with falling populations

-as most of these vehicles will not be running on fossil fuels,emissions from automobiles will decrease

-more green space in cities as more land will become cheaply available.

Interested in seeing if any reaction on the above projections. Some of these changes will take a few decades to occur, but I don't see them not occuring.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

Correction: commute farther to work

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Personally, I would never be rude to a fellow human, but don't ask me to show courtesy to a robot.

im sure you wont have too all your actions will be recorded, if theres enough of these people causing disruption Im sure Toyota will forward these videos to the police, you most probably get a visit by them with a warning, continue doing it and youll get fined or arrested, "disruption of business laws" people seem to forget automated vehicles are just one big video camera.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Would you trust a robot surgeon to operate on your child? NO. Why? Changes are the robot is better in 99% of surgeries. Faster, more accurate, tireless, with a perfect memory. But in the event of disaster, the robot is judged and possibly cancelled. Why? Because it is new and hundreds of variables come into play. Human nature is such that it wants tested proven routines. And from a legal perspective the doctor is a human, but a robot is a heartless corporation begging to be sued for millions in evert problem.

Also a robotic car has no judgement. If a human hears that a terrorist is at the destination, it will cleverly turn away from the destination. A clueless robot will deliver its occupants right to the terrorist. It will enter an earthquake zone. It will brake suddenly for pranks in the form of cartoons depicting situations.

Bottom line is a handsome surgeon in court says quietly "we did all we could do" chances are he is forgiven. If a robot is accused, well the robot does not even talk. The blame will fall squarely onto the corporation and its stockholders.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

Also a robotic car has no judgement. If a human hears that a terrorist is at the destination, it will cleverly turn away from the destination.

how would a human do that watching their smartphone of TV, which is illegal.

meanwhile automated taxis will be monitored by humans at their headquarters as soon as news breaks of a disaster in the making it a push of the button to recall all vehicles in that area. Doubt all the human driven vehicles will have their radio on or watching their TVs (which they should be doing anyways). Just because vehicles are automated doesn't mean they're not constantly monitored by people and arent linked to a main control center

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Disturbing to see so many people defending robots over their fellow human beings. Where's the humanity?

Trump is right, robots will never replace the human, and glad most here support that idea instead of the liberal dream of replacing people and old industries with AI. Shame on Japan for going down this path

0 ( +6 / -6 )

About time we start seeing autonomous cars on the roads. Even if they are still early in development, I would say they are already dozens of times safer than humans, who should be nowhere near cars.

Thankfully this is just around the corner and we won't see irrational and emotional humans behind the wheel soon

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Disturbing to see so many people defending robots over their fellow human beings. Where's the humanity?

Not really defending the robots, merely stating that this tech can save lives, improve the environment and make cities more liveable.

I know this could eliminate jobs, but what other disadvantages do you see that outweigh these benefits?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Take my words. It will never be successful anywhere in the world and it will not work in common roads, regular traffic and human beings. These all companies are just wasting money and time.

When all the companies started making 3D Television sets around 10 years back I said same thing 'it will not work and it will be flop within few years' and it is flop.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Well their go the taxi jobs, so long taxi man...Wonder what the smart tech AI will do to the non paying fare dodgers...

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

If we allow for robots to drive without human control on the streets, how will we ever survive living in a world with lawsuits over responsibility, after living in this current day and age where there are never lawsuits over responsibility in car accidents.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Good to hear! The taxi industry has been coddled and protected for too long; they deserve a violent disruption to their industry. If they can't compete against new tech, their industry should be allowed to die.

Business isn't a daycare centre, you either compete or you leave

4 ( +5 / -1 )

If there's a bang between two advanced driverless cars (or also one with driver car), how will they deal with it on the main busy road/motorway. Insurance and all. Plus Unknown Areas, Queue and Traffic.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

how do self driving cars respond to road construction with the little man waiving a flag telling you to go or stop, or potholes or dead animals in the road? 

I don't know for sure, Dango Bong, but I would guess that it is probably much the same as what happens at the moment.

It will slow down and go round the blockage according to the rules of the road.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Shame on Japan for going down this path,

Everybody will be going down this path , when cost associated with autonomous vehicles are substantially cheaper and safer than human drivers itll be adopted very quickly, if your unskilled uneducated then it time to find skills that will be in demand in the future. Complaining about technology has never stopped its progress people just have to adapt , simple as that.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Thankfully this is just around the corner and we won't see irrational and emotional humans behind the wheel soon and thats exactly why autonomous vehicle will be on the rd, driving wont be dictated by emotional, irrational, impared, intoxicated, aggresive, sleepy drivers

2 ( +4 / -2 )

If car companies and municipalities were really interested in saving lives they would have installed/required simple speed governors in all cars decades ago.

Car companies now, with all the AV hype, and “gee-whiz” demonstrations like this, are just manufacturing consent amongst the public for the technology - and then for the public to foot the bill for all the expensive infrastructure that will be necessary to actually make the technology work (which probably involves totally separate space for these cars to operate in).

There is is no way car companies will ever abandon the private auto market, and car hobbyists will always demand a space to drive their cars.

Technophiles are like religious extremists. To them, the holy word is “progress” and the idea that progress might not always be progressive is blasphemous.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

FYI :

https://www.e-stat.go.jp/stat-search/files?page=1&layout=datalist&toukei=00130002&tstat=000001032727&cycle=1&year=20180&month=23070907

Data from the government shows, until end of july 2018 :

246,000 accidents

1,847 dead

300,000 hurt

Having human drivers is not safe.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

What a great thing! With the 2020 Olympics soon approaching, let’s embrace technological development and opportunities for the future by having passenger-paying driver less car system to show that: 1) technology can be marketed for the new gimmick that it claims to be, 2) people can be ripped off because they are paying for a service that includes non-existent labour costs, and 3) the media attention that this gimmick will get will help promote more people to become ripped off because they are paying for a service that includes non-existent labour costs in the future.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

What happens if you're low on change and your credit cards are maxed out?

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Humans have the capacity to act irrationally, but that actually serves a purpose.

The threat of an irrational reaction from a fellow driver is what keeps people from doing legal but rude behavior, like turning on your turn signals and simply barging in front of somebody else.

However, AI cars are predictable and rational and once everybody figures that out, everybody will just turn on their signals and barge out in front of them, knowing that the AI car will stop every time.

If you say an empty AI car trying to get out of a parking lot into the traffic lane, would you give way?

I wouldn't. For a human, I would almost every time, especially after making eye contact and getting the an "excuse me" nod from the driver.

I will always treat fellow humans with courtesy, machines get zero respect from me.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Burning BushToday 12:10 pm JST

Other drivers will quickly learn that the AI is programmed to yield in every single case to avoid a collision at all cost. Everybody will take advantage of this flaw.

There are two things you might consider:

1) The program may be designed to yield, but immediately upload video evidence of your trangressions. A ticket might be sent by mail to your home.

2) If you fail and bump the vehicle, they might decide you are not partially, but 100% at fault. Further, should you kill someone, your careless driving leading to death (negligence) charge might be upgraded to a homicide charge due to your clear indifference to safety.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Data from the government shows, until end of july 2018 :

246,000 accidents

1,847 dead

300,000 hurt

Having human drivers is not safe.

This is the selling point - but autonomous vehicles will not solve all the problems caused by cars(sprawl, health issues like asthma and obesity, pollution, noise, climate change etc). They, will make many problems worse -especially if they cause other, simpler initiatives - like encouraging bike use over car use - to be abandoned.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

However, AI cars are predictable and rational and once everybody figures that out, everybody will just turn on their signals and barge out in front of them, knowing that the AI car will stop every time.

@Burning Bush - not sure why you keep on making this point - 3 times so far - we heard you the first time. And each time I read it, I thought, "so what"?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

1) The program may be designed to yield, but immediately upload video evidence of your trangressions. A ticket might be sent by mail to your home.

It's not illegal to merge into a lane, as long as you put on your turn signals.

Take not of how often courteous interaction is required when navigating streets, especially narrow ones in Japan to determine right of way and smooth crossings between vehicles.

Since AI lacks the capacity to ever respond irrationally to impolite but legal behavior, it will be slow and be easily taken advantage of by other drivers.

And each time I read it, I thought, "so what"?

I'm waiting for a logical and intelligent counterpoint, but yet to receive one.

Keep in mind I'm talking about driving behavior that is impolite, but not illegal, the cops can't charge people for failing to be courteous.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

So many closed-minded nay-sayers! I’m glad y’all don’t have an actual say in the future of the world or we’d all be living in the Stone Age.

Bring on the future!!

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I'm glad these people weren't around when cars were invented - we would still be using horses and buggies.

"But what will all the horses do? Cars are useless because they require gasoline - they won't go far before they run out of gas. Where will they get gas? Cars are useless because they don't do as well on mud trails as horses - they need paved roads and there aren't any. Cars will be handled by inexperienced drivers and will result in fatal accidents. At least horses require some degree of skill." yada yada

From a US organization: "Close to 3,000 teenagers are killed each year in car crashes nationwide, making traffic collisions the leading cause of accidental death among teens ages 13 to 19, according data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)."

Does anyone thing self-driving cars will be worse than that?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Once again TIJ.. Such silliness would never be seen in the West

Such "silliness" has been going on in the West for years. When I'm at my California home, not a day goes by where I don't drive by at least six self-driving vehicles, often more.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Keep in mind I'm talking about driving behavior that is impolite, but not illegal, the cops can't charge people for failing to be courteous.

And I repeat, "so what?"

Soyou take advantage of its willingness to back off in favour of your bad and impolite driving, but it is not really a substantial point, which is why I wonder why you keep making it. What difference does it really make if they give way more often?

These vehicles might be completely empty of humans and it might make them slightly slower at certain junctions. If there is a human passenger in the car, perhaps sitting in the traditional "driving seat", your natural politeness will still guide you to give way.

Youkeep making a point that is off no real relevance to the viability of these vehicles. Probably in 50 years there will no longer be any self-driving cars on the road anyway.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Interacting with other humans on the street is preferable to interacting with machines, despite the higher risk of accidents.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

However, AI cars are predictable and rational and once everybody figures that out, everybody will just turn on their signals and barge out in front of them, knowing that the AI car will stop every time.

So?

You make it sound bad that suddenly the roads will be safer for pedestrians. Baffling.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Interesting that the problem most people have with these cars in the US is that they are too conservative and safe. They can take forever to make a turn or cross an intersection, so people just illegally drive around them.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

IA IS DANGEROUS

°

When we are talking about new technology, we are talking about so many money that government hide the truth. IA is dangerous because it can't anticipate hazard as well of a human. But worse, it can't find a good safe pathway solution in case of a problem.

No need to add, that soon, the world trade will impose taxes on those IA to protect the human work load and the world economy. This will be douane taxes money to a dissuasive level (as costly as a the human work). The world need to work to have money to live and progress. So IA, as a danger to this progress, will be very expansive to make sure everyone give work to people instead of machinas. If you want access to world market you will have to produce with hands and not machinas.

That is the real future. The new world gives work and free activity to everyone. If machina block it by taking the human jobs, then the taxes paid will help countries to live from it.

°

NCM

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Self Driving is not equipped properly in Japan as yet, it needs the proper Lidar radar infrastructure..

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Google should also stop their self driving program altogether, if they can not even master crappy Google Translate, please do not even attempt self driving.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

I'd like to hear who the car is registered to and to whom responsibility lies upon an accident? The technology is clearly enough to help people at this point, and that's as far as it needs to go. That in itself reduces accidents without unemploying millions

Outright replacing people serves no economic benefit. It must be stated that the economy is for humans, not corporations

To the companies that have no more drivers, they don't have a business anymore. If there's no incentive to live in rural Japan that will just continue and not help increase inhabitants

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Google should also stop their self driving program altogether, if they can not even master crappy Google Translate, please do not even attempt self driving.

Driving is less complex than translating for a computer. A computer can now win hands down at Go, the most complex game ever created, but cannot talk naturally, which even quite imbecilic humans can manage.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Driving is less complex than translating for a computer. 

Perhaps that's true. But if self-driving cars made errors at even a 10th of the rate as the best translation software, there would be mass slaughter in the streets. People rarely die from translation mistakes.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Self-driving tech, does not work yet and is unlikely to work in the near future. It’s a golden bauble fantasy that will be used to underfund badly needed transit projects that actually works and to direct the money to continue to pay for roads for private vehicles.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

If and when we get them here in the US, I bet there's going to be a bunch of losers trying to jump in front of them in slow traffic to get 'hit' so they can sue Google or whoever for a zillion dollars.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

It’s a golden bauble fantasy that will be used to underfund badly needed transit projects that actually works and to direct the money to continue to pay for roads for private vehicles. firstly its white elephant, secondly Japan has plenty of roads its the J gov job to fund those with taxpayers money, autonomous vehicles R&D come mostly from private companies like Toyota GM Ford etc.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Bauble - “something that is superficially attractive but useless or worthless”

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Driverless cars(gee-whiz!) and flying cars(oh my!) are tech dreams designed to “dazzle” the public in order to save an obviously failed system of auto dependency.

Failing to see beyond that system of dependency is the real failure of imagination here.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Technophiles are like religious extremists. To them, the holy word is “progress” and the idea that progress might not always be progressive is blasphemous. and yet the human race has adavnced more in the last 150yrs than it has in the previous 1000yrs, seems youre born in the wrong century

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Ya can make out at the back of these cars and not worry about the driver, lol

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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