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全新版大学英语综合教程第四册 Unit2:智能车辆

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Steve Shladover outlines the benefits to be gained from vehicles that could drive themselves and discusses how this could be achieved.

斯蒂夫·施多弗阐述了能自动运行的车辆的诸多裨益,并详细论述了如何将其变为现实。
Intelligent Vehicles
智能车辆

Steve Shladover

斯蒂夫·施多弗

Even when cars were still young, futurists began thinking about vehicles that could drive themselves, without human help. Perhaps the best known of these conjectures was the General Motors Futurama, the hit of the New York World's Fair. Now, at the start of the new century, it's worth taking a fresh look at this concept and asking how automation might change transportation and the quality of our lives.

还在汽车问世之初,未来学家就开始设想无需人来操纵便能自动运行的车辆将是什么样儿的。这类设想最出名的或许是年纽约世界博览会上轰动一时的由通用汽车公司推出的“未来城市风光”。今天,在世纪之初,以新的目光去审视这样的设想,去探讨自动化将如何改变交通以及我们的生活质量,是颇具价值的。

Consider some of the implications of cars that could drive themselves.
且来看一看能自动运行的汽车意味着什么。
We might eliminate the more than ninety percent of traffic crashes that are caused by human errors such as misjudgments and inattention.
我们或许能消除%以上由于判断失误以及疏忽等人为因素造成的交通事故。
We might reduce antisocial driving behavior such as road rage, thereby significantly reducing the stress of driving.
我们或许能减少野蛮开车这类有害公众利益的开车行为,从而大大减轻行车压力。
The entire population, including the young, the old, and the infirm, might enjoy a higher level of mobility without requiring advanced driving skills.
社会全体成员,包括老老少少与体弱者,也许都不需习得娴熟的驾车技巧就能较为自由地奔驰了。
The luxury of being chauffeured to your destination might be enjoyed by all, not just the wealthiest individuals.
被开车接送也许会成为世人共同的享受,而不仅仅是最富裕阶层的一种奢侈。
Fuel consumption and pollution might be reduced by smoothing traffic flow and running vehicles close enough to each other to benefit from aerodynamic drafting.
车流通畅,相互紧随行驶的车辆能利用前车产生的较小的空气阻力,这些都可能减少油耗和污染。
Traffic-management decisions might be based on firm knowledge of vehicle responses to instructions, rather than on guesses about the choices that drivers might make.
交通管理将会建立在充分了解车辆对指令的应变能力的基础上,而非基于对车辆驾驶者可能采取的行动的粗略估测。
The capacity of a freeway lane might be doubled or tripled, making it possible to accommodate growing demands for travel without major new construction, or, equivalently, today's level of congestion might be reduced, enabling travelers to save time.
高速公路的车容量会增加一倍或二倍,使其不必大兴土木就能适应不断增长的行车需求;或者,同样重要地,目前交通拥堵的程度能得到缓解,以使行车者节省时间。
Is it feasible?
是否可行?
This is now a realistic prospect. With advances in technology we can readily visualize your trip on an automated highway system.
目前这已成为一个可以实现的希望。随着技术的进步,我们不难设想自动化公路系统上的行车过程。
Imagine leaving work at the end of the day and needing to drive only as far as the nearest on-ramp to the local automated highway. At the on-ramp, you press a button on your dashboard to select the off-ramp closest to your home and then relax as your car's electronic systems, in cooperation with roadside electronics and similar systems on other cars, guide your car smoothly, safely, and effortlessly toward your destination. En route you save time by maintaining full speed even at rush-hour traffic volumes. At the end of the off-ramp you resume normal control and drive the remaining distance to your home, better rested and less stressed than if you had driven the entire way.
且来设想,工作一天下班后,只需开车至最近的一个自动公路入口匝道。到了入口匝道,在仪表板上按一下按钮选择离家最近的出口匝道,随后就休息放松,由车上的电子系统与路旁的电子装置以及其他车辆上类似的系统合作,把车平稳、安全、顺畅地开往目的地。即使是在车流量最大的高峰时段,也能一路全速行驶,从而节省时间。下了出口匝道,再照平常那样驾驶,开过余下的路程回家,那要比自己全程驾驶省力轻松许多。
Although many different technical developments are necessary to turn this image into reality, none requires exotic technologies, and all can be based on systems and components that are already being actively developed in the international motor vehicle industry. These could be viewed as replacements for the diverse functions that drivers perform every day: observing the road, observing the preceding vehicles, steering, accelerating, braking, and deciding when and where to change course.
要把这一景象变成现实固然需要各种不同的技术发展,但也无需什么匪夷所思的技术,所有的技术都能以国际车辆制造业正在积极开发研制的各种系统和部件作为基础。这些技术可以被看作是车辆驾驶者日常开车所起各种作用的替代:观察路况,留意前行车辆,掌握方向,加速,刹车,变道。
Observing the road
观察路况
Researchers have developed a road-reference and sensing system that makes it possible to determine accurately a vehicle's position and orientation relative to the lane's center. Cheap permanent magnets are buried at four-foot intervals along the lane centerline and detected by magnetometers mounted under the vehicle's bumpers. . These meters provide the information used by the vehicle's control computer to determine its exact position of the vehicle.
研究人员开发了一种路况参考及传感系统,这些能准确判断车辆的方位及所在车道中心的相应定位。价格低廉的永磁体以英尺的间隔埋设在车道中心线上,车辆保险杆下安装着的磁强计能够测知。这些磁强计向车上的计算机控制台提供信息,以断定车辆的确切方位。
Other researchers have used computer vision systems to observe the road. () These are vulnerable to weather problems and provide less accurate measurements, but they do not require special roadway installations, other than well-maintained lane markings.
其他研究人员利用计算机图像系统观察路况。这类系统易受气候变化的影响,提供的数据不够精确,但它们不需要特别的道路设置,只需要将路面标志维护好就行了。
Observing preceding vehicles
留意前行车辆
The distances and closing rates to preceding vehicles can be measured by a radar or a laser rangefinder. Both technologies have already been implemented in commercially available systems in Japan and Europe. The laser systems are currently less expensive, but the radar systems are more effective at detecting dirty vehicles and operating in adverse weather conditions. As production volumes increase and unit costs decrease, the radars are likely to find increasing favor.
与前行车辆的车距及接近时的速度可用雷达或激光测距仪测定。这两项技术已经在日本和欧洲投入商业运用。目前激光系统比较便宜,但雷达系统能更加有效地测知野蛮行驶的车辆,能更加安全地在天气恶劣时操作。随着产量的提高,成本的降低,雷达系统将会越来越受欢迎。
Steering, accelerating and braking
掌握方向、加速和刹车
The equivalents of these driver muscle functions are electromechanical devices installed in the automated vehicle. They receive electronic commands from the onboard control computer and then apply the appropriate steering angle, throttle angle, and brake pressure by means of small electric motors. Early versions of these devices are already being introduced into production of vehicles, where they receive their commands directly from the driver's inputs to the steering wheel and pedals. These decisions are being made for reasons largely unrelated to automation. Rather they are associated with reduced energy consumption, simplification of vehicle design, enhanced ease of vehicle assembly, improved ability to adjust performance to match driver preferences, and cost savings compared to traditional direct mechanical control devices.
相当于车辆驾驶者肌功能的是安置在自动车辆上的电动机械装置。它们接收车上计算机控制台发出的电子指令,再凭借小型电力发动机恰当地控制方向、油门大小以及刹车紧急程度。车辆生产已经采用这类装置的最初样本,它们通过驾驶者给方向盘和踏板的输入信息直接获得指令。决定开发这类产品大都与自动化无关。与之有关的因素有降低能耗、简化车辆设计、进一步提高车辆装配效率、改善根据车辆驾驶者的喜好调节性能的能力,以及低于传统的机械直控装置的成本等。
Deciding when and where to change course
决定何时何处变道
Computers in the vehicles and those at the roadside have different functions. Roadside computers are better suited for traffic management, setting the target speed for each segment and lane of roadway, and allocating vehicles to different lanes of a multilane automated facility. The aim is to maintain balanced flow among the lanes and to avoid obstacles or incidents that might block a lane. The vehicle's onboard computers are better suited to handling decisions about exactly when and where to change lanes to avoid interference with other vehicles.
车用计算机与路边装置的计算机功能不同。路边设置的计算机更适用于交通管理,如为不同路段和车道设定限速,通过多车道自动化设施为车辆安排不同的车道。其目的是使各车道的车流量保持平衡,避免可能堵塞车道的障碍或事故。车用计算机更适用于精确地判断在什么时间和位置改变车道,以避免与其他车辆碰撞。
Remaining challenges
尚存的挑战
There remain a number of difficulties to be overcome. These are mainly technical, but there are in addition a number of nontechnical challenges that need to be addressed. These involve issues of liability, costs, and perceptions.
尚有许多困难有待克服。主要是技术性难题,但此外也有不少非技术性的挑战需要面对,其中包括行车责任、成本以及观念等问题。
Automated control of vehicles shifts liability for most crashes from the individual driver (and his or her insurance company) to the designer, developer, and vendor of the vehicle and roadway control systems. Provided the system is indeed safer than today's driver-vehicle-highway system, overall liability exposure should be reduced. But its costs will be shifted from automobile insurance premiums to the purchase or lease price of the automated vehicle and toll for use of the automated highway facility.
车辆的自动控制把大多数事故的责任从车辆驾驶者个人(及其保险公司)转移到设计者、研制者以及车辆和道路控制系统的经销商身上。如果这一系统的确比当今的车辆驾驶者—车辆—公路系统安全,总体责任风险就会减少。但其成本会从汽车保险金转移到自动车辆的售价或租金,以及自动公路设施的使用费上来。
All new technologies tend to be costly when they first become available in small quantities, then their costs decline as production volumes increase and the technologies mature. We should expect vehicle automation technologies to follow the same pattern. They may initially be economically viable only for heavy vehicles (transit buses, commercial trucks) and high-end passenger cars. However, it should not take long for the costs to become affordable to a wide range of vehicle owners and operators, especially with many of the enabling technologies already being commercialized for volume production today.
任何新技术在最初小批量供应时都相对昂贵,以后随着产量的增长与技术的完善,成本就会降低。我们相信车辆自动控制技术也将遵循这一模式。从经济角度考虑,这类技术在最初阶段或许只能应用于重型车辆(如公交车、货运卡车)和高级客车。然而,不用多久,其成本就能为广大车辆拥有者和驾驶者所接受,尤其是目前不少可以应用的技术已经走向市场,开始了批量生产。
The largest impediment to introduction of electronic chauffeuring may turn out to be the general perception that it's more difficult and expensive to implement than it really is. If political and industrial decision makers perceive automated driving to be too futuristic, they will not pay it the attention it deserves and will not invest their resources toward accelerating its deployment. The perception could thus become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
电子驾驶应用的最大障碍可能在于一种普遍的观念,认为这一技术的应用比实际情况更困难,更昂贵。如果政治决策者和企业决策者认为自动驾驶过于超前,他们就不会予以应有的关注,就不会投入资源,促使其早日为人们利用。这样的话,这一观念就可能成为一种终将实现的预言。
It is important to recognize that automated vehicles are already carrying millions of passengers every day. Most major airports have automated people movers that transfer passengers among terminal buildings. Urban transit lines in Paris, London, Vancouver, Lyon, and Lille, among others, are operating with completely automated, driverless vehicles; some have been doing so for more than a decade. Modern commercial aircraft operate on autopilot for much of the time, and they also land under automatic control at suitably equipped airports on a regular basis.
重要的是,要看到,每天已有千百万人乘坐自动化车辆。大多数颇具规模的机场都有自动控制的客车把乘客从一个航站楼转到另一个航站楼。不少城市公交线路,如巴黎、伦敦、温哥华、里昂和里尔等,都是由全自动控制的无人驾驶车辆运行的,有些已运行了十多年。现代商用飞机大多时间是由自动驾驶仪操纵的,在装备完善的机场,这些飞机一向在自动控制指挥下着陆。
Given all of this experience in implementing safe automated transportation systems, it is not such a large leap to develop road vehicles that can operate under automatic control. That should be a realistic goal for the next decade. The transportation system will thus gain substantial benefits from the revolution in information technology.
考虑到所有这些安全运用自动化交通运输系统的经验,开发由自动控制操纵的公路车辆算不上什么大的飞跃。这应该是未来十年中的一个现实目标,交通运输系统也就会大大得益于信息技术革命。

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prophecy ['prɔfisi]

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n. 预言,先兆,预言能力 =prophesy

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luxury ['lʌkʃəri]

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n. 奢侈,豪华,奢侈品

 
wheel [wi:l]

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n. 轮子,车轮,方向盘,周期,旋转
vi.

 
construction [kən'strʌkʃən]

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adj. 机械的,力学的,呆板的
n. (供制

 
purchase ['pə:tʃəs]

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resume [ri'zju:m]

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