Driverless cars 無人駕駛汽車

Are driverless cars the future of transportation? Are they safe? Find out!
Will driving yourself become extinct?

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什麼樣的汽車不需要司機就可以在道路上馳騁?隨著不斷發展革新的技術,目前已有越來越多的公司決定接受研發無人駕駛汽車的挑戰。駕駛員這一角色在未來會成為過去式嗎?本期《隨身英語》討論自動汽車這一概念的歷史、現狀及發展前景。

課文內容

Vocabulary: driverless cars 詞彙:無人駕駛汽車

As the relentless pace of technology continues to advance, companies must adapt or get left behind. One of the key areas of contention these days is the driverless car. Autonomous cars have long been featured in science fiction movies and books, but in recent years they have moved from a pipe dream to a reality.

The development of the autonomous car actually started in the 1920s, but it wasn’t until the 1980s that the first prototypes were successfully created, one of which was designed by Mercedes-Benz.

Since then the technology has gone from strength to strength and these days many companies are jumping on the bandwagon. Uber is the latest to announce its plan to unroll a fleet of driverless cars. It follows Apple and Ford, who have announced similar plans, and Google and Tesla, who already have autonomous cars on the road.

Two questions arise: Do we really need them? And are they really safe? Advocates of driverless cars would argue ‘yes’ to both. Vehicular autonomy, if perfected, could lead to much safer road conditions for all, lower insurance costs and enhance mobility for the elderly, the sick and those with disabilities. They would also allow roads to increase their capacity between 200 – 400%.

Perfection, though, seems to be just out of reach at the moment. To date Google’s self-driving car, launched in 2012, has had 14 minor accidents. Even worse, Tesla’s Autopilot has caused one fatality in 2015, where the vehicle simply did not see the obstacle.

While the technology exists, driverless cars and full vehicular autonomy is still embryonic. That said, you can rest assured that further development in the field is inevitable. And what’s the future? Well, George Marcus, co-founder of Geometric Intelligence – Uber’s autonomous development department – imagines a world of flying cars taking us to work. He says “They’re going to allow people to take long commutes at 75 or 150 mph where you’d otherwise get stuck in traffic. It’s really, in a not-too-distant future, going to be something that is practical.” Wouldn’t that be fine?

詞彙表

relentless 持續不斷的
pace 步伐
adapt 適應,改變
contention 爭議,爭論
autonomous 無人駕駛的,自動的
pipe dream 幻想,不現實的計劃
prototype (機器、工業產品等)原型
go from strength to strength 日益強大,蒸蒸日上
jumping on the bandwagon 跟風,緊跟潮流
unroll 公開展示,發布
a fleet of cars 一組車隊
advocates 擁護者,提倡者
vehicular autonomy 車輛自動駕駛(技術)
mobility 行動能力
capacity 負荷
out of reach 遙不可及的
fatality 死亡事故
embryonic 未成熟的,初期的
inevitable 必然會發生的

測驗與練習

1. 閱讀課文並回答問題。

1. Which two car companies already have driverless cars on the road?

2. True or False: Mercedes-Benz created the first driverless car prototype.

3. What advantages will driverless cars bring to society?  

4. Are driverless cars 100% safe?

5. Which expression in the text means not maintain progress with?

2. 請你在不參考課文的情況下完成下列練習。選擇一個意思合適的單字填入句子的空格處。

1. I’ll never make enough money to go to the moon. It’s just a ______.

prototype         fleet         bandwagon         pipe dream

2. I can’t get around like I used to. I just don’t have the ______ anymore.

autonomy         mobility         contention         fatality

3. The tiger was ______ in its pursuit of the deer. It followed it over miles of country.

pace         inevitable         relentless         embryonic

4. It is believed that there has been at least one _________ in last night’s train crash.

fatality         out of reach         adapt         advocate

5. I am a feminist so of course I’m an ______ of equal pay for women!

contention         mobility         autonomy         advocate

答案

1. 閱讀課文並回答問題。

1. Which two car companies already have driverless cars on the road?

Google and Tesla, who already have autonomous cars on the road.

2. True or False: Mercedes-Benz created the first driverless car prototype.

False. ONE was designed by Mercedes-Benz.

3. What advantages will driverless cars bring to society?

Much safer road conditions for all, lower insurance costs and enhance mobility for the elderly, the sick and those with disabilities. They would also allow roads to increase their capacity between 200 – 400%.

4. Are driverless cars 100% safe?

No. Google’s self-driving car, launched in 2012, has had 14 minor accidents. Tesla’s Autopilot has caused one fatality in 2015.

5. Which expression in the text means not maintain progress with?

‘Get left behind’.

2. 請你在不參考課文的情況下完成下列練習。選擇一個意思合適的單字填入句子的空格處。

1. I’ll never make enough money to go to the moon. It’s just a pipe dream.

2. I can’t get around like I used to. I just don’t have the mobility anymore.

3. The tiger was relentless in its pursuit of the deer. It followed it over miles of country.

4. It is believed that there has been at least one fatality in last night’s train crash.

5. I am a feminist so of course I’m an advocate of equal pay for women!

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