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Toyota Adds External Speakers To Warn Pedestrians

CmdrTaco posted about 4 years ago | from the noise-pollution dept.

Transportation 531

HockeyPuck writes "When I was a kid, playing with my matchbox cars, I used to say 'VROOOM VROOOM' to pretend my toy cars had big engines in them. Well it seems that Toyota has decided to do the same thing with the Prius by optionally installing, in Japan, external speakers to alert pedestrians of oncoming Priuses."

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Only Priuses? (1, Funny)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | about 4 years ago | (#33360718)

So... You're admitting to it, right?

Re:Only Priuses? (2, Insightful)

oldspewey (1303305) | about 4 years ago | (#33360796)

Yes. They are admitting to the fact they are fitting optional speakers to the Prius.

Re:Only Priuses? (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 4 years ago | (#33361108)

Kinda makes me feel good..

One thing I'm certainly gonna miss...a well tuned exhaust note of a healthy engine!!

Nothing like the rumble of a Corvette, or my old 911 Turbo with the Borla exhaust....made sitting in traffic idling fun!!

I won't even get into how little fun an electric motorcycle would be.....*sigh*

Re:Only Priuses? (2, Insightful)

CheshireCatCO (185193) | about 4 years ago | (#33361000)

Linked article says Nissan is planning to add it to the Leaf, too. So I'm afraid I don't understand your point.

(Also, a lot of hybrids never move without the engine running, so it's less of an issue with, say, the Civic.)

Re:Only Priuses? (1)

butterflysrage (1066514) | about 4 years ago | (#33361354)

maybe it is just me, but wouldn't it be easier to just teach drivers to watch the hell out for pedestrians?

oh right, my bad, in this world no one can be bothered to look out for themselves or anyone else... we need to pay $150 for an extra to make our nice, quiet car contribute to the already horrific noise polution.

Re:Only Priuses? (4, Funny)

h00manist (800926) | about 4 years ago | (#33361088)

And do they go VROOM VROOM? That sound that legacy engines used to make, sort of like a SteamPunk car sound effect? I wonder if you can install a tailpipe and make real smoke, and get a radiator full of hot water and stuff. These electric engines are just so boring, they make no noises with water steam smoke etc like cars used to.

Horn? (3, Insightful)

ruiner13 (527499) | about 4 years ago | (#33360726)

Isn't that what the horn is for?

Re:Horn? (1, Interesting)

santax (1541065) | about 4 years ago | (#33360776)

No. Think about a (hehe) child (hell or even a Santax) playing between some cars. It is silent, I can hear nothing. I assume (since I know when I hear nothing there are no cars) I can safely cross the street. Only to Die by Prius. This really is one of the biggest disadvantages of these types of cars. You can't hear them, so your brain isn't in the alerted modus. If every car we have today would be silent you would see a great increase in traffic-deaths. So for me this worth applauding. Will safe some lives.

Re:Horn? (3, Insightful)

oldspewey (1303305) | about 4 years ago | (#33360828)

For most vehicles travelling at around 30km/h or more, unless the driver is standing on the gas pedal, most of the noise comes from the tires, not the engine.

Re:Horn? (4, Funny)

Rakshasa Taisab (244699) | about 4 years ago | (#33360920)

So you propose we introduce traffic laws that require cars to at all times be going above 30 km/h?

You don't need much speed to kill a kid or dog, and it'll just feel like a small hump in the road when you start dragging the corpse under your car..

Re:Horn? (1)

CheshireCatCO (185193) | about 4 years ago | (#33360950)

Right. Which is why the study linked into the article states that the major increase in accidents with pedestrians and hybrids occurs at very low speeds, especially backing up, parking, and pulling out into traffic.

Read the study, it's good stuff. I admit, I was sort of dubious of the threat posed by quieter cars, but the study is reasonably convincing that at least at slow speeds, it's a problem.

Re:Horn? (1)

Bryansix (761547) | about 4 years ago | (#33361058)

They put low rolling resistance tires on a lot of hybrids to pad the MPG numbers. It totally compromises the handling and safety of the car but all they care about is the MPG they get to advertise. Those tires make almost no noise at all.

Re:Horn? (1)

CheshireCatCO (185193) | about 4 years ago | (#33361340)

You know, I had those tires in my Civic. I had little handling issues with them in Colorado and they certainly made a fair amount of noise on the road. The only reason I didn't replace them with another set when they wore down was basically cost. I haven't noticed any difference in the handling in rotten conditions (admittedly, I've also moved to a snowier place), to be honest.

Certainly, the average experience may differ. Do you have any studies that show that said tires result in a statistically significant increase in accidents?

Re:Horn? (4, Insightful)

coolsnowmen (695297) | about 4 years ago | (#33361048)

what? From the age I was allowed to cross the street, I was told to LOOK both ways, never to just listen for a car. There are many things that move that don't make loud engine noises (bikers, runners, segways, animals) AND fast moving cars. If a car is moving fast enough, you won't hear is coming [till it is too late], especially in a traffic filled area, there are always car sounds. you _ have _ to _ look.

If you consider the quiet of the prius to be a disadvantage, then roll down the window and just scream the whole time.

The only reason this would be useful for is blind people. The only [legally] blind person I've even known, only walked in neighborhoods (where cars should be going slow enough to yield to any pedestrian) and cross walks (that have an auditory signal). No where is car sound reliable enough to be a decision making factor.

Re:Horn? (1, Insightful)

Jawnn (445279) | about 4 years ago | (#33361282)

what? From the age I was allowed to cross the street, I was told to LOOK both ways, never to just listen for a car...

Right...
And no one is ever distracted, or lazy, or maybe even just blinded by glare, so they should just take their lumps and shut up about it. Or put another way, even though we could prevent innumerable accidental injuries and deaths by adding an aural warning, we should not do that just because stupid or inattentive people don't deserve it. Have I got that right?

Re:Horn? (1)

bsDaemon (87307) | about 4 years ago | (#33360778)

What if they have a heart attack, die, don't land on the horn, and are speeding out of control in electric silence?

Re:Horn? (3, Funny)

blair1q (305137) | about 4 years ago | (#33361050)

Then they won't mind the dent you leave in the hood.

Re:Horn? (2, Interesting)

Abstrackt (609015) | about 4 years ago | (#33361056)

What if they have a heart attack, die, don't land on the horn, and are speeding out of control in electric silence?

Assuming they push the pedal to the floor during the heart attack and rigor mortis kicks in immediately, the gas engine would kick in and produce noise. Otherwise, their leg muscles would relax once they die making it near impossible for them to push the gas pedal.

Re:Horn? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33361070)

This made me laugh :(.

Re:Horn? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33360988)

The point isn't to warn pedestrians that the driver knows about. The point is to warn pedestrians that the driver can't see -- for example, those walking out from between two parked cars.

That said, the Prius is not THAT quiet, even when going slowly. It produces tire noise, and the electric motor is also clearly audible from outside the car.

Re:Horn? (1)

Bryansix (761547) | about 4 years ago | (#33361026)

No. Unless you routinely honk your horn while coming around blind corners (note: this is actually required by law in most states but nobody does it).

Re:Horn? (0, Offtopic)

Lord Ender (156273) | about 4 years ago | (#33361072)

No, this is a non-stop sound. You wouldn't want to lay on your horn all the time. This safety feature also sounds a lot nicer than regular road noise. Toyota has already released a sample of the sound it will play [youtube.com] .

Re:Horn? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33361104)

Well, in all honesty the horn on economy cars usually inspires laughs due to its pathetically weak sound. You would be better off piping an effeminate man's lisping voice out of the optional external speakers.

Horn? That's for killing old ladies. (1)

h00manist (800926) | about 4 years ago | (#33361172)

Isn't that what the horn is for?

That's to lean on with full might at the last minute while applying screeching brakes attempting to kill the pedestrian of regular heart attack, while claiming full innocence. Lawyerly weaponry. Especially if you upgraded to those trucklike horns that make the entire neighborhood know you just killed a another lady with the heart attack braking technique.

Re:Horn? (1)

MouseR (3264) | about 4 years ago | (#33361264)

I was nearly taken out by an effin hybrid car once (a Ford Escape) running under battery. There's no way to hear those coming in a city noise background.

For context, I was walking in an underground parkway, turning a corner on my way to the elevator shaft.

What a shame (1)

Midnight's Shadow (1517137) | about 4 years ago | (#33360744)

I always found that one of the great things about the Prius was how quite it was, but I guess with as many idiots out there not paying attention a little audio warning is needed. Now all we have to do is hope the RIAA doesn't have a copyright on the noise...

Re:What a shame (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33360766)

Idiots like blind people, or people who can't spell "quiet".

Re:What a shame (5, Informative)

Daniel_Staal (609844) | about 4 years ago | (#33360782)

Also, it reminds me of the old rules requiring someone to walk ahead of automobiles with a bell, so you wouldn't scare the horses...

We have a car with an advantage (that it is silent at low speeds), and we cripple it because we aren't used to it.

Re:What a shame (1)

Rakshasa Taisab (244699) | about 4 years ago | (#33360788)

Yeah, and those careless idiots think they got a right to drive too... Not really much choice here.

Re:What a shame (1)

zero_out (1705074) | about 4 years ago | (#33360834)

While I agree that adding noise to a car is counter-intuitive, I know that at least one group, representing those who are blind, has complained about the lack of audio cues of an oncoming hybrid vehicle. This was part of a news program that I was watching at least six years ago. It's not just idiots who are not paying attention that are complaining. There are others, with more legitimate complaints, who are complaining as well.

Re:What a shame (1)

Midnight's Shadow (1517137) | about 4 years ago | (#33361266)

And for those with legitimate complaints, such as the blind, I can sympathize. I just find it really hard to believe that adding more noise to a car is really the best solution.

Re:What a shame (1)

Deathlizard (115856) | about 4 years ago | (#33361296)

you could fix the noise by using one of those Military Pain guns instead. That should get their attention.

What does it play when acceleratng uncontrollably? (5, Funny)

Rockoon (1252108) | about 4 years ago | (#33360746)

"ATTENTION PEDESTRIANS! This vehicle is accelerating uncontrollably while an elderly man panics in the drivers seat! Please make way!"

Re:What does it play when acceleratng uncontrollab (5, Funny)

blair1q (305137) | about 4 years ago | (#33361004)

I'm not panicking, and it's not uncontrolled.

Learn to cross at the light, asshole.

Re:What does it play when acceleratng uncontrollab (2)

Neutral_Observer (1409941) | about 4 years ago | (#33361080)

That is good. I just spit out my coffee...

Re:What does it play when acceleratng uncontrollab (2, Interesting)

Bryansix (761547) | about 4 years ago | (#33361086)

Actually, Volvo intoduced a pedestrian protection system which instead stops the car. I think it functions at speeds below 30 mph if I remember correctly.

double-edge sword (1)

jDeepbeep (913892) | about 4 years ago | (#33361304)

Could come in handy for car-jacking with a 2 person team..

Re:What does it play when acceleratng uncontrollab (4, Funny)

Sponge Bath (413667) | about 4 years ago | (#33361166)

...while an elderly man panics

Hey! Some of us Prius drivers are trying to score Death Race points, and this proposal will really impact our scores :-(

Tardis (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33360756)

How long until these speakers are modded to sound like a Tardis?

Also add horse sounds (5, Funny)

Ossifer (703813) | about 4 years ago | (#33360772)

They need to add the sounds of hooves and the cracking of whips too, for those of us not used to these newfangled horseless carriages...

Re:Also add horse sounds (5, Funny)

bsDaemon (87307) | about 4 years ago | (#33361042)

Can't you just hire someone to sit on top of the Prius and crack some coconuts together?

Re:Also add horse sounds (1)

pspahn (1175617) | about 4 years ago | (#33361358)

I was thinking along the same lines, but more annoying. I can imagine people all over adding custom "ring tones" to their vehicles. Now I can loathe driving to Boulder even more, as everyone will be playing some crappy new age sound from the front of the car.

Just when you think... (3, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | about 4 years ago | (#33360780)

Just when you think quiet electric cars are going to help diminish the noise pollution problem, they go and do this.

Re:Just when you think... (1)

Pentium100 (1240090) | about 4 years ago | (#33360900)

Because some sound alert is needed. Not everyone can see, out of those people that can see, not everyone can see a car clearly from far enough.

Re:Just when you think... (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 4 years ago | (#33361158)

They're loud enough. The road noise is clearly audible frat 25 yards.

Maybe cars should be forced to vibrate the ground so Tommy doesn't get hit on the way to the pinball palace?

Re:Just when you think... (2, Informative)

mark-t (151149) | about 4 years ago | (#33361170)

And what do these people do to avoid people on bicycles, while not as likely to be fatal as a collision involving an automobile, a collision involving a bike and pedestrian can still very easily result in a serious injury requiring hospitalization.

Re:Just when you think... (1)

John Hasler (414242) | about 4 years ago | (#33361356)

> And what do these people do to avoid people on bicycles...

Nothing. Bicycles are absolutely, totally harmless.

Re:Just when you think... (2, Funny)

MrEricSir (398214) | about 4 years ago | (#33360958)

Noise pollution is better than pedestrian carnage pollution.

Re:Just when you think... (2, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | about 4 years ago | (#33361186)

Except there isn't a problem.

This is a solution to a problem that doesn't really exist.

Like trying to solve the Bermuda Triangle Mystery when in fact there is no actual mystery.

Re:Just when you think... (1)

pspahn (1175617) | about 4 years ago | (#33361384)

Considering everyone walks around with white headphones in their ears, or is yapping on a phone, this makes a lot of sense. People are not attentive to the world around them anymore.

Begs for creative modification (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33360824)

I'm so going to mod this to replace the motor sound with the sound of a playing card stuck in a bicycle wheel.

For geek points (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33360856)

It needs to made the Knight Rider / Cylon noise with optional light.

Re:Begs for creative modification (2, Funny)

NevarMore (248971) | about 4 years ago | (#33361160)

Tie Fighter engine noise

Hmmmm (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33360830)

Is the default recording "Pretentious Asshole Coming Through"

Re:Hmmmm (1)

oldspewey (1303305) | about 4 years ago | (#33360876)

When did BMW start making the Prius?

Feature Request (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33360838)

I want one that plays a recording of Mr. T shouting "Ah pity the po foo' don't get out mah way!"

Finally (2, Informative)

hsmith (818216) | about 4 years ago | (#33360850)

Automobiles are 508 compliant!

Re:Finally (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33361222)

But what will they add to warn those who are blind and deaf?

Takes out all the fun from old jokes (4, Funny)

A beautiful mind (821714) | about 4 years ago | (#33360862)

There was a campaign a while ago where people could suggest advertisement plots for some car brands. Some guy sent something like this in:

Scene: Blind 9 year old girl crossing the street.

Camera alternates between showing the closeup of the girl and showing the empty road.

Screen goes black and in a short while there is a loud noise as if someone was hit by a car.

The following appears on screen: "New Audi type foo. Very fast. Very quiet."

The guy didn't hear back about his plot suggestion for some reason.

Re:Takes out all the fun from old jokes (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33361216)

There was a campaign a while ago where people could suggest advertisement plots for some car brands. Some guy sent something like this in:

Scene: Blind 9 year old girl crossing the street.

Camera alternates between showing the closeup of the girl and showing the empty road.

Screen goes black and in a short while there is a loud noise as if someone was hit by a car.

The following appears on screen: "New Audi type foo. Very fast. Very quiet."

The guy didn't hear back about his plot suggestion for some reason.

Probably because he was deaf.

External speakers to alert of oncoming Priuses (1)

John Hasler (414242) | about 4 years ago | (#33360882)

The speakers go "Ring-dingy-dingy", right?. But, no, I guess that woulf be for Civics.

fitting (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33360894)

The TOYota Prius IS a toy car....I'll stick with my Detroit Muscle, have fun pretending with your vroom vroom speakers

Re:fitting (1)

dangitman (862676) | about 4 years ago | (#33361136)

I'll stick with my Detroit Muscle,

In my day, we called that a "trouser snake."

I can imagine it already... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33360906)

"Move ovel you wankel!!"

Re:I can imagine it already... (1)

Farmer Tim (530755) | about 4 years ago | (#33361102)

"Move ovel you wankel!!"

And if they don't have a rotary engine?

Smug Alert (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33360914)

ASSSSSSSShole coming through.

Maybe I'm overthinking this, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33360948)

...that sounds like it would be the most annoying fucking thing ever.

I've been saying this all along... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33360952)

Now give me that hacksaw, and I'll go cut additional 12" off the exhaust of my Harley...

A solution in search of a problem (1)

Weaselmancer (533834) | about 4 years ago | (#33360962)

Has anyone got a link to a story of a pedestrian being hit by a hybrid car because they didn't hear it?

Re:A solution in search of a problem (1)

Bryansix (761547) | about 4 years ago | (#33361162)

I summon the POWER OF GOOGLE!!! Seriously, this took like 1.3 seconds to find. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JARji4SbpCM [youtube.com]

Re:A solution in search of a problem (1)

NevarMore (248971) | about 4 years ago | (#33361188)

Nope, but we must spend! spend! spend! to prevent this horrible tragedy from ever occuring!

If they do, I want options! (4, Funny)

DarthVain (724186) | about 4 years ago | (#33360966)

Pick your Engine sound:

1) Default Camcord
2) Italian Sports Car
3) Half ton Truck
4) Harley Davidson Motorcycle
5) Tank
6) Horse and Buggy
7) Monty Python
8) Ice Cream Truck
9) VW anything
10) F1
11) Flubber
12)...

Re:If they do, I want options! (1)

HeyBob! (111243) | about 4 years ago | (#33361082)

12) Jetsons/Futurama car

Re:If they do, I want options! (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | about 4 years ago | (#33361084)

I choose the voice making "Vroom! Vroom!"

Re:If they do, I want options! (1)

Translation Error (1176675) | about 4 years ago | (#33361094)

Ice Cream Truck - This is one you should secretly change your friend's Prius to make.

I'd go for the theme from Jaws for mine.

Re:If they do, I want options! (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | about 4 years ago | (#33361134)

13) Sanctimonious person chiding about the environment.

They could put a Ralph Nader speech loop on it.

Re:If they do, I want options! (4, Interesting)

NevarMore (248971) | about 4 years ago | (#33361210)

TIE fighter.

Re:If they do, I want options! (1)

kabloie (4638) | about 4 years ago | (#33361248)

Exactly, you beat me to it!

Re:If they do, I want options! (1, Funny)

geekoid (135745) | about 4 years ago | (#33361224)

It's a prius, there would be only one option:
"Look at me, I'm saving the environment, Look at me, I'm saving the environment, "Look at me, I'm saving the environment."

However, if given an option, I would choose:

"EXTERMINATE!"

Re:If they do, I want options! (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | about 4 years ago | (#33361278)

7) Monty Python

"I'm not dead yet"?

Nobody will hear that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33360982)

Tokyo (downtown/high streets) is probably the loudest city in the world. Nobody will hear mingy, tiny speakers.
-> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=--JLHr9rqGA
-> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nmAX57wSFQM

So.... (1)

mark-t (151149) | about 4 years ago | (#33360984)

Are they going to require these for bicycles as well then?

Bicycles might not weigh as much as a car, and so might not be as likely to kill, but they can sure as heck easily hospitalize someone who steps in front of a moving one.

What sound would you want? (1)

KDN (3283) | about 4 years ago | (#33360990)

  • A Harley motorcycle
  • Engine from one of those big tractor trailers
  • JetSki
  • The space car/briefcase from the Jetsons cartoon
  • The roadrunner cartoon character
  • Speede Gonzales (Mexican mouse cartoon character)
  • The Jupiter 2 spacecraft (Lost in Space)
  • Engine noise from Star Trek
  • Horses galloping with a whip crack

years ago in superhero 2044 (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | about 4 years ago | (#33360994)

back in the 1980's, I played a superhero who rode an electric motorcycle (it being all futuristic) and I had speakers with "real harley sound" effects which I could turn on and off.

Now this won't be possible... (1)

rsborg (111459) | about 4 years ago | (#33361008)

No more deadly silent [youtube.com] Prius sneak attacks [jalopnik.com] ?

Looks like the resale on my older model might improve!

It'll be illegal in the US, unless (1)

bareman (60518) | about 4 years ago | (#33361028)

there is a provision that all the cars external speakers be allowed to play campaign advertisements for the Republicans and Democrats, or commercials targeted at the upcoming pedestrians who have already been RFID tagged.

So it'll be like Nissan's electric cars (5, Interesting)

Kitkoan (1719118) | about 4 years ago | (#33361034)

This was already noted by Nissan a while back when they decided to make their next electric cars sound like Blade Runner. [gizmodo.com] Its a safety feature to make sure people like the blind can hear them so they don't walk right into a quiet electric car just as it's turning a corner at the lights.

Awesome (1)

dangitman (862676) | about 4 years ago | (#33361096)

This would be the coolest thing ever, if instead of "vroom vroom" noises, it played the lyrics to Madness' Driving in My Car read out by a bad Japanese speech synthesizer.

I've been driving in my car, it's not quite a Jaguar
I bought it in Primrose Hill from a bloke from Brazil
It was made in '59 in a factory by the Tyne...

Re:Awesome (1)

vlm (69642) | about 4 years ago | (#33361236)

This would be the coolest thing ever, if instead of "vroom vroom" noises, it played the lyrics to Madness' Driving in My Car read out by a bad Japanese speech synthesizer.

How 'bout "The Wheels on the Bus", my kids like that.

"The wheels on the Prius go round and round,
round and round,
round and round,
the wheels on the Prius go round and round,
all at 60 miles per gallon .... (repeat)"

Although I think the "icecream truck music" whatever thats called, would be funnier.

Cars of the future (1)

pwnies (1034518) | about 4 years ago | (#33361178)

So the real reason that cars of the future make that "bloop-bloop-bloop-bloop" sound as they go along is because of speakers?

$148? How about bicycle tech? (3, Interesting)

aapold (753705) | about 4 years ago | (#33361200)

A playing card in the rims could do that for a lot less, and I'll wager the drag would cost less than the energy drain of the speaker system too....

Sound Racer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33361246)

Are they adding this, and piping the sound outside? http://www.soundracer.se/?video=1

Ding Ding Ding (1)

zeoslap (190553) | about 4 years ago | (#33361258)

This doesn't surprise me in a country where their cars continually ding a bell when you hit 100 k/mh (62mph) hope they don't bother offering the option here.

It says (1)

g0bshiTe (596213) | about 4 years ago | (#33361260)

I'll bet it says
Uzendayo kiero translation FUCK OFF!!!

EVs weren't always so quiet (1)

lfp98 (740073) | about 4 years ago | (#33361300)

Early electronic EV controllers operated at ~800-1500 Hz and emitted a quite audible electronic buzz or hum. Bay area folks may remember that same sound in the early BART trains. When 15-20 kHz controllers came out, a major selling point was their silence. I vote that we bring back the 1000 Hz hum, even if artificially, as the official EV sound.

I knew I should have patented my idea (4, Funny)

beschra (1424727) | about 4 years ago | (#33361310)

Ringtones for your hybrid car. Downloadable for 99 cents.

Re:I knew I should have patented my idea (1)

TechJag (1092575) | about 4 years ago | (#33361368)

99 cents? Nah... Welcome to the Toyota Engine Store powered by Apple Engine tunes 9.99 DRM included!
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