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Researchers develop optical fibre capable of over 1 petabit per second

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A coupler created by Macquarie University in Australia, combined with a fibre fabricated by Hokkaido University and equipment maker Fujikura, and a transmission system developed by the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology in Japan, has led to transmission speeds in excess of 1 petabit.

The new four-core, three-mode fibre was touted as being the same width as existing standard fibre, but was capable of 12 times the data speed. Macquarie University said the fibre was less prone to damage due to its narrower diameter, and could be used with existing equipment.

“The world’s insatiable demand for data means that we are approaching a ‘capacity crunch’ and need to find new ways to transport ever-larger volumes,” said Dr Simon Gross of the Macquarie Photonics Research Centre.

“This technology promises a solution to the bottleneck created by existing optical fibres. For the first time, we have created a realistic and useable-sized fibre which is resilient and can transport huge amounts of data.”

Uses of the fibre would be in backhaul networks, the university said, although it pointed out that the fibre’s capacity was “12 million times quicker than the fastest NBN connection”.

In September, NBN announced that it had doubled the capacity on its fibre-optic transit network to 19.2Tbps per fibre link.

The upgraded capacity kicked off in Sydney between Eastern Creek and Asquith, with the 3,600km route between Darwin and Brisbane to follow in December — to support growth on the Sky Muster satellite service — and will then be switched on progressively across the nation.

“The capacity upgrade has been made possible with the successful installation of new optical transmission technology — from network equipment maker Coriant’s CloudWave Optics — that supports per-wavelength transmission rates of 200 gigabits per second (Gbps) on optical transport backbone networks,” NBN explained.

Earlier in the year, Japanese giant NEC teamed up with Google to work out how to use artificial intelligence to boost the spectral efficiency across the FASTER subsea cable system to 6 bits per second per hertz for a capacity of more than 26 terabits per second.

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Your new Porsche Taycan just got easier to track

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Porsche Taycan buyers will be able to stop pestering their dealer as they wait for their all-electric sedan to arrive, with the automaker adding a new way to track production of the luxury EV. The Taycan – which received several updates for the 2021 model year, not least a bump in estimated electric range – is the second model to be added to Porsche’s Track Your Dream service.

Launched back in May 2020, Track Your Dream is basically the equivalent of obsessively hitting refresh on a FedEx or UPS shipment, but for your new Porsche. It covers the vehicle from the point of order, through to manufacturing in Germany, and then as it arrives in the US.

In total, Porsche says, there are fourteen milestones that the system counts down. That includes the start and end of production, the Taycan being loaded onto a boat in Germany and then arriving at a US port, and then its arrival at the local dealership where it’ll be prepped for handover. The app and web interface also show more background detail on each step, to help clear up confusion and also tide you over while you wait for the keys.

Porsche launched the system last year, but only for one model: the 911. The full range of that car was added, whether you were going for the most affordable 911 Carrera at $99,200, to a flagship 911 Turbo S Cabriolet at $216,300. Now, the full Taycan line-up has been added too.

That includes the freshly-announced 2021 Taycan RWD, which does away with the all-wheel drive of the previously released models. It still has 402 horsepower in Launch Control mode, and can do 0-60 mph in 5.1 seconds. Range is yet to be confirmed, however, but it’s priced from $81,250 including destination.

The rest of the model year 2021 Taycan line-up, however, has seen a range boost. In the case of the 2021 Taycan 4S with Performance Battery Plus – currently the largest pack that Porsche offers – the new car is expected to hit 227 miles under EPA testing. That’s 24 miles more than the 2020 version of the EV.

Porsche delivered 4,414 Taycan to US buyers last year, with the automaker saying that around a quarter of those went to owners in California. That’s despite Taycan production being shut down for several weeks, after the pandemic forced Porsche to pause its factories.

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Kia confirms talks for cooperation on electric cars with foreign firms

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Not long ago, a rumor surfaced that Kia and Apple would be working together on an autonomous electric vehicle. Neither company confirmed they were working together on a car. However, Kia has confirmed that it is reviewing cooperation on self-driving electric vehicles with multiple foreign firms.

The Korean automaker did not confirm that it was working with Apple. Kia confirmed it was working with foreign firms on electric vehicles in a regulatory filing. Kia’s stock price increased nearly 20 percent since rumors of it working with Apple began. Kia’s parent company, Hyundai Motor Group, has reportedly decided Kia will be in charge of cooperation with Apple on electric vehicles.

The most recent report cited unnamed industry sources claiming to be familiar with the deal. While Kia hasn’t confirmed that it would be working with Apple, Hyundai Motor Company did confirm that it was in early talks with Apple after rumors first surfaced that discussions for electric cars and batteries were happening. That rumor pushed shares in Hyundai up nearly 25 percent, but there has been no confirmation by Apple.

This all comes after reports last month that Apple was moving forward with its own vehicle using its own breakthrough battery technology. That report claimed vehicle production could happen as early as 2024. Other reports have indicated that vehicle production could start much later than 2024.

Apple has been working on autonomous electric vehicle technology for a long time. It was believed that Apple had abandoned the project for a while, but it now seems those reports were incorrect. One question that remains is if Apple is providing autonomous and battery technologies to other automakers or if the vehicle will be an actual Apple product.

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Dacia Bigster Concept is a bigger and more stylish Duster SUV

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Most US buyers are not privy to Dacia, a Romanian car brand and Renault subsidiary, known for making affordable, reliable, and quirky vehicles like the Sandero and Duster SUV. Most recently, Renault unveiled the 5 concept electric vehicle to coincide with the brand’s ‘Renaulution’ business strategy, and it seems Dacia is along for the ride with its newest Bigster concept SUV.

“Dacia will stay Dacia, always offering a trustworthy, authentic, best value-for-money proposition to smart buyers,” said Denis Le Vot, CEO of Dacia and Lada brands.

Part of ‘Renaulution’ is a new Dacia-Lada business partnership to boost both brand’s competitiveness through shared engineering and manufacturing. “With the creation of the Dacia-Lada business unit, we’ll have everything we need to bring the brands to higher lands, with the Bigster Concept leading the way,” added Le Vot.

This new partnership will enable Dacia and Lada to scale down from eighteen body styles to eleven while moving from four to a single platform to reduce manufacturing and engineering costs without compromising rigidity and design. Dacia and Lada will use the Renault-Nissan Alliance’s all-new CMF-B modular platform, which debuted in the all-new Renault Clio in 2019.

It’s the same platform underneath Dacia’s Bigster Concept SUV, a 4.6-meter long family hauler that paves the brand’s entrant in the highly-competitive C-segment. “Dacia Bigster Concept epitomizes the evolution of the brand,” said Alejandro Mesonero-Romanos, Dacia Design director. “It proves that accessible is not opposed by any means to attractiveness. At Dacia, we believe so, and this car is proof.”

Viewed from the side, the Dacia Bigster resembles a hulked-up version of the Duster. The rear profile in particular, with its rising window line and powerful haunches, is reminiscent of the Mitsubishi Montero or Pajero Sport SUV (remember, Mitsubishi is also part of the Renault-Nissan Alliance). However, the concept has “no bells and whistles, no chrome trim or imitation aluminum,” said Dacia, and the protective exterior panels are crafted from raw, recycled plastic materials.

Powering the Dacia Bigster is a combination of alternative-energy or hybrid powertrains. We’re expecting Bigster to have the same Bi-Fuel (dual petrol and LPG engine) technology as the Sandero and Duster, but an all-electric model is a distinct possibility. Meanwhile, Dacia is set to unveil Europe’s most affordable electric car, the Spring, later this year.

Dacia Bigster Concept Gallery

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