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Honda and GM team on EVs and smart cars in North America

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Honda and General Motors plan to team up on new models for North America, potentially sharing platforms for both electric and internal combustion vehicles with a variety of body styles. The non-binding memorandum of understanding follows the two automaker’s earlier agreement to jointly-develop two new Honda EVs based on the GM Ultium platform that will power upcoming cars like the Cadillac Lyriq and GMC Hummer EV.

If the new collaboration works out, though, things could get even more enmeshed. The North American automotive alliance that Honda and GM have in mind would include a range of co-developed vehicles, with cooperation across everything from research and development, purchasing, and connected services.

There’d be common vehicle platforms, with both electrified and more traditional internal combustion propulsion depending on model. What it won’t mean, though, is either brand disappearing in the US and Canada. Both companies would launch models under their own distinct brands, even if the underlying tech and engineering was shared.

The goal, of course, is a more efficient route to production vehicles. “An alliance in North America between Honda and GM would leverage the best technologies and generate substantial cost efficiencies from shared vehicle platforms and propulsion systems, joint purchasing, potential manufacturing efficiencies and other collaboration efforts,” the two automakers suggest. “This would enable both GM and Honda to make greater investments in advanced and next-generation technologies.”

In short, working together to develop a single platform will be cheaper overall than both Honda and GM simultaneously – but separately – working on their own next-gen portfolio. Meanwhile actually producing those vehicles, including buying the parts from suppliers, could be more cost-effective given the shared parts involved.

For consumers, as well as a quicker route to next-generation vehicles, there’s also the promise of more interconnectivity. For example, Honda plans to use GM’s OnStat connected services for the two new Honda-branded electric vehicles using the Ultium platform, with the system integrated into HondaLink. Beyond that, should this new agreement go ahead, Honda and GM could expand that to everything from vehicles’ electrical architecture, advanced driver assist systems, infotainment, connectivity, and vehicle-to-everything communication.

It’s a potentially very valuable shortcut. Both Honda and GM have been criticized in recent years for their approach to electrification in particular in the North American market, with limited all-electric options to cater to the growing segment. Both have aggressive roadmaps for changing that – and for integrating more efficient gas engines in hybrids and plug-in hybrids – but that’s an expensive and time-consuming process.

Talks to plan how co-development could be enacted will begin immediately, the two automakers say. If all goes to plan, engineering work is expected to kick off in early 2021.

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The Real Reason Canada Is Banning Huawei Technology

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In an official statement, Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, Francois-Phillipe Champagne mentioned that the move ensures the long-term safety of the country’s telecom infrastructure. The decision was made after “a thorough review by our independent security agencies and in consultation with our closest allies,” says the statement.

The Canadian government claims to have conducted an extensive examination of 5G technology and arrived at the conclusion that — despite its benefits — the next-gen cellular technology opens the doors for new security threats. The government has raised concerns that Huawei and ZTE could be forced by the Chinese government to engage in activities that are not in Canada’s best interests. In the past, Huawei has repeatedly denied the claims of being influenced by the Chinese government and even has a dedicated 5G myth-busting resource page on their official company website.

China, on the other hand, has opposed the ban, claiming that it will take all necessary steps to ensure the well-being of Chinese companies. “We will take all necessary measures to safeguard the legitimate interests of Chinese firms,” foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin was quoted as saying by Reuters.

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The Most Expensive NFTs Ever Purchased

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One of the earliest examples of an NFT collection on the Ethereum blockchain, CryptoPunks have grown to be among the most valuable collections in the world. They are a set of 10,000 unique, algorithmically-generated “Punk” characters that, according to their creators Larva Labs, served as the inspiration for the ERC-721 standard, an interface that now powers that majority of Ethereum-based NFTs. A CryptoPunk’s value is determined by the rarity of its attributes: the rarer the attributes, the more valuable the NFT.

CryptoPunk #5822 is one of the rarest of all, which explains its incredible selling price. Firstly, it has just one attribute, a feature that only 2% of the collection shares. That single attribute is a bandana, which is rare in itself, as only 5% of the collection sport one. The Punk’s skin type is alien, which is the biggest factor in pushing up this NFT’s value, as only 0.09% of the collection share this skin, a total of 9 NFTs out of a collection of 10,000. Punk #5822 was bought by Deepak Thapliyal, CEO of blockchain tech company Chain, for 8,000 ETH, roughly $23.7 million USD at the time of sale.

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Self-Repairing Electronics Are Closer To Reality Than You Think

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A research group led by Professor Yehonadav Bekenstein from the Faculty of Materials Sciences and Engineering and the Solid-State Institute at Technion was studying perovskite nanoparticles for their potential to provide a green alternative to toxic lead materials used heavily in electronics. In doing so, they found something unexpected.

The team found on a microscopic level that the nanocrystals moved a hole (damage) through the areas of a structure to self-heal. Surprised by this, the researchers drew up a code to analyze microscopic videos and understand the dynamics and movements within the crystal. The researchers realized that the damaged area, or hole, formed on the surface of the nanoparticles, then moved to energetically stable areas inside, and was finally “spontaneously ejected” out. Researchers explained that through this self-healing process, the nanocrystals essentially reverted back to being undamaged (per Technion). 

Researchers with Technion believe that this discovery is a key step toward understanding the processes by which perovskite nanoparticles can heal themselves. The team also thinks that perovskite nanoparticles should be used in solar panels and other electronic devices. The full study, published by Advanced Functional Materials and made available at the Wiley Online Library, is titled “Self-Healing of Crystal Voids in Double Perovskite Nanocrystals Is Related to Surface Passivation.”

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