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无人驾驶汽车离我们有多远?

2014-01-16    来源:fortunechina    【      美国外教 在线口语培训

现在围绕无人驾驶汽车的问题已经不是它行不行,而是它什么时候上市。不过,真正的问题可能在于,无人驾驶汽车技术到底对驾驶文化和驾驶行业到底意味着什么。

Informed conversations about self-driving cars no longer are about feasibility. New key talking points are "When?" and "Which automakers first?" and "Who will be responsible when an accident happens?"

消息灵通人士关于自动驾驶汽车的深谈已经与可行性无关了,现在大家关注的焦点是“什么时候上市?”,“哪家汽车厂商会首先推出这种车?”以及“如果发生事故,责任到底在哪方?”

Nissan has said it will sell a driverless car by 2020. IHS forecast several models available by 2025. Both of these are guesses -- but they indicate how fast the technology is progressing.

日产汽车(Nissan)已经表示将于2020年销售无人驾驶汽车。IHS咨询公司预计,到2025年,市场将推出好几款此类车型。这两个消息都有猜测的性质——但它们表明,这项技术的发展是何等神速。

What seemed unimaginable a decade ago becomes more practical, comprehensible, and real by the day. Google's (GOOG) self-driving Toyota Prius (TM) has logged hundreds of thousands of miles without incident on California roads. Most automakers are testing self-driving cars on tracks and -- lately, as I experienced earlier this week in Las Vegas -- in traffic.

十年前还显得那么不可思议的事情现在已经变得十分可行,可以理解,而且无比真实了。谷歌(Google)那辆自动驾驶丰田普锐斯(Toyota Prius)已经在加州的公路上安全行驶了上万英里,没有出过任何事故。大多数汽车厂商正在赛道上测试自动驾驶汽车,同时——最近,正如我本周初在拉斯维加斯体验的——也在真实路况中开展这种测试。

The Audi A7 equipped with "traffic jam assist" was programmed to drive itself slowly in heavy traffic at no more than 40 miles per hour. (Dr. Bjorn Giesler, head of Audi's project team, was behind the wheel.) The car was loaded with cameras, sensors, and a special device that monitors a driver's eyes to ensure he or she doesn't fall asleep at the wheel. In that event, the car will safely slow down, stop, and call for help.

奥迪A7搭载了一套“堵车辅助系统”,它能在严重拥堵的车流中以每小时不超过40英里的时速自动驾驶(测试时奥迪项目组组长比约恩•吉斯勒博士就坐在驾驶席上)。这辆车上装了各种摄像头、传感器和一套特殊设备,能监测驾驶者眼睛的情况,以确保司机开车时不要睡着。如果司机真的睡着了,这辆车就会稳稳地减速、停止行驶,请求援助。

Think of a driverless car as a robot. For Audi and other automakers, a key question is how much of the driving should be done by the robot, how much by the driver. The driver decides. Executives at Audi and other automakers say the driver, in any case, must remain engaged and attentive, ready to take over in the event of the unexpected: a car travelling the wrong way or out of control, for example.

大家不妨把无人驾驶汽车看成是机器人。对奥迪公司(Audi)和其他汽车厂商来说,关键问题是驾驶中到底有多少该由机器人来完成,多少该由驾驶者来完成。这其实最终还是取决于驾驶者自己。奥迪和其他品牌的高管都表示,驾驶者无论如何都必须保持介入和警觉,发生开错道或失控这类意外时要能随时重新接管车辆。

Audi executives won't use the word "driverless;" instead they speak about "piloted" driving. Other auto executives talk about "autonomous" or "assisted" driving. Only Google is adamant that it wants a driverless car, one that can help the elderly and the blind, as well as anyone who would rather be reading a book.

奥迪的高管从来不用“无人驾驶”这个字眼,他们说的是“引导式”驾驶。其他品牌的高管说的则是“自动”或“辅助”驾驶。只有谷歌坚称自己要研发的就是无人驾驶汽车,也就是能帮助老年人和盲人,以及那些宁可在车上读书的人的自动驾驶汽车。

Today's Audis and many other brands already may be equipped with features like adaptive cruise control that keeps a car a safe distance and constant speed behind cars ahead. Several have dynamic lane assist, which warn when a car is leaving a lane inadvertently -- and can gently steer the car back.

如今奥迪和其他很多品牌可能都搭载了自适应巡航控制系统这类配置,能让汽车与前车保持安全距离,同时维持匀速行驶。还有几个品牌采用了动态车道辅助系统,车辆无意中偏离车道时能发出预警,同时轻轻地让车回到正确的车道上。

Given a multitude of sensors, weather conditions, road changes, pedestrians, and other vehicles -- robotic logic must be able to decide safely and instantaneously whether to turn, accelerate, or brake. The software, hardware, and algorithms that sift all this information are getting cheaper, smaller, and faster. Last year, the control systems filled the trunk of an Audi vehicle; this year, custom chips that function as the brain sit on a board about the size of a book.

在大量传感器、各种天气条件、路况变化、各种行人和其他车辆并存的情况下——机器人逻辑必须能安全及时地做出转弯、加速和刹车的决定。而相关的软硬件,以及处理所有这些信息的算法现在都日益便宜、小型化并且运算速度更快。去年奥迪试验车辆的后备箱里还塞满了控制系统;而今年,作为车辆大脑、位于仪表板上的定制芯片只有一本书那么大。

State and federal regulators still must decide under what circumstances to permit so-called autonomous systems or, perhaps, whether to mandate features like adaptive cruise control or lane assist, if they are deemed to make automobile travel more safe.

现在,美国各州和联邦政府的监管者还是得决定在什么情况下可以允许采用这些所谓的自动系统。或者说,如果这些系统确实被认为可使汽车更安全的话,是否应要求厂商都标配自适应巡航控制或车道辅助系统。

Auto insurance today is a very straightforward process. But what about when a piloted car hits a pedestrian? Or when a truck hits a piloted car? Once piloted driving becomes more common, real-world experience will show how many accidents happen. Actuaries have statistical tools for assessing how much accidents will cost and, therefore, how much everyone will pay in insurance premiums.

如今的汽车保险流程非常简单。但是,如果自动驾驶汽车撞了行人怎么办?或者说,如果卡车撞了自动驾驶汽车又怎么办?一旦自动驾驶汽车变得日益普及,实际情况就会告诉我们到底会发生多少事故。保险精算师手里有统计工具,能算出这些事故会造成多大损失,也能算出每个人要付多少保险费。

As for legal responsibility, a question at an Audi press conference summed it up this way: "If a car without a driver has an accident, who is responsible: the driver? The owner of the car? Audi?" No one has answered the questions definitively, but it's a good bet that driverless cars will be involved in far fewer accidents than ones with -- otherwise, why have them?

至于说法律责任,奥迪新闻发布会的一个问题是这么概括的:“如果一辆没有驾驶者的车出了事故,到底该谁负责:司机?车主?还是奥迪?”没人有确切答案。但可以肯定的是,无人驾驶汽车出事的概率会比传统汽车要低——否则干嘛要研发它们呢?(财富中文网)



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