BEIJING, Sept. 23 (Xinhua) — The following is a summary of published science and technology news of China.

ARCTIC NORTHEAST PASSAGE

The researchers found that the Northeast Passage is projected to be navigable for open water ships in September from 2021 to 2025, according to their research article published in the journal Global and Planetary Change. And the navigable period would extend to October from 2026-2050.

Also, ships with medium icebreaking capabilities would be able to cross the passage from August to December from 2021-2025 and from July to December from 2026-2050.

PILOT ZONE FOR SELF-DRIVING VEHICLES

Beijing is planning to build a cloud-based pilot area for self-driving vehicles before the end of this year, marking an important step for the development of intelligent networked vehicles in the capital city.

The pilot zone, to be located in the Beijing Economic-Technological Development Area, also known as E-Town, will cover 60 square km, featuring integrated smart roads, intelligent vehicles, real-time cloud, reliable network and precise maps, according to Kong Lei, an official with the administration of the E-Town.

MOLTING BEHAVIOR OF ANCIENT BIRDS

According to research published in the journal Current Biology, ancient birds began to molt sequentially at least 70 million years ago so that they could maintain their flight ability through all seasons.

To study the molting strategies of ancient birds, researchers collected feather molt data from a total of 302 extant bird species.

They also found that some extant bird species that replace their feathers simultaneously or irregularly may have later evolved independently from their ancestors with sequential molting behavior.

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