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经济学人:从0到70(十亿) 优步究竟经历了什么(4)

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Developing its own maps enables Uber to offer more precise estimates for pickups and drop-offs to users and better routes for drivers—improvements which are particularly important for carpooling and for autonomous vehicles.

通过开发自己的地图系统,优步可以为用户提供更精确的上下车地点,同时也为司机们找到最佳路线,这些改进对拼车服务和无人驾驶都尤为重要。
These are capabilities that rivals in emerging markets would be very hard put to match.
这些都将成为将新兴市场的对手甩在身后的利器。
In addition to competitors, Uber also needs to contend with regulators and policymakers.
除了要和竞争者抗衡,优步还需和监管部门以及政策制定者们周旋。

Uber004.jpg

Most of Uber’s bookings are generated in just 20 cities.

目前,其大部分交易额仅来自20个城市。
Many dense, potentially lucrative urban areas in countries including Germany, Italy and Spain are out of reach for the time being because of regulatory problems.
诸如在德国、意大利和西班牙的许多人口密集、有盈利前景的城市,因监管问题还未能看见优步的身影。
It is unclear how soon and how favourably these will be resolved, if at all.
至于这些问题何时能解决,或到底能否解决,还是个未知数。
How Uber fares with regulators will depend to some extent on how it manages its relationship with the public.
优步如何处理与监管部门的关系一定程度上取决于公共关系的管理上。
If it succeeds in its vision of becoming a major provider of transport services for both passengers and goods all over the planet, it will have a larger presence in the physical world than any technology company in history.
若其对未来的构想成为现实(成为全球交通和运输的主要供应商),它将超越历史上任何其他科技公司,在现实世界中占有重要席位。
The public will have an opinion about it.
大众群体的观点也将有所权重。
Today competition authorities see Uber in a positive light, because it brings more transport options to city-dwellers.
目前,由于优步为城市居民提供了多种交通方式,竞争权威机构视其参与市场为积极信号。
But when it puts many taxi companies out of business and becomes an essential part of a city's infrastructure, there will be calls to regulate it more strongly.
但如果它挤垮大批的出租车公司,成为城市基础设施的重要组成部分,便会有人呼吁加强对其的监管。
Those calls will get louder if, or when, Uber starts to swap growth for profits.
而如果它准备大肆收割利润,这种呼声只会愈加强烈。
Uber's relationship with its drivers could hit its image and its pockets.
优步与司机之间的关系也同样会影响其声誉和利润。
Drivers in California, Massachusetts and New York have sued the company, claiming that they are employees, not freelancers, and are thus entitled to benefits.
在加州、麻省和纽约,一些司机已将优步告上法庭,声称自己属于正式员工,而非自由职业者,因此有权享有员工福利。
A judge in California recently allowed one of these cases to proceed, bringing fresh uncertainty over Uber's financial obligations.
近期,加州的一位法官接受处理一起这样的案件。这给优步的财务责任带来了新的不确定性。
Some drivers say that once they cover their expenses, they make less than the minimum wage.
有些司机表示刨去成本费用后,他们的收入甚至达不到最低工资标准。
“I feel betrayed by Uber,” says Omer Abdelnur, who has driven for Uber for three years in San Francisco; he has watched his earnings decline by around 70%, according to his estimates.
一位在旧金山开了三年的优步司机估计自己的收入下降到只有以前的三成,并说“我觉得自己被优步背叛了”。
(Uber says fares have dropped, but wages have stayed level because the volume of trips is up. )
(优步则表示虽然车费下降了,但由于交易量的增加,司机工资仍与以往持平。)
According to one insider, the public-relations nightmare of drivers' low wages and lack of benefits (compared with techies' high salaries) has helped to keep Apple and Google out of ride-hailing so far.
据知情人士透露,司机 (相较于高薪技术人员而言) 工资较低缺少福利,这种公关噩梦使得苹果公司和谷歌一直以来都不提供叫车服务。
But this does not necessarily apply to all business models: later this year Waze, a mapping app owned by Alphabet, will reportedly launch a service designed to let San Francisco commuters share rides.
但有些商业模式并不受这种公关噩梦的影响:据报道,今年下半年Alphabet旗下的地图应用软件位智 (Waze) 将启用新的服务模式,让旧金山的通勤者可以使用拼车服务。
And it certainly won’t apply when the cars become driverless.
而当无人驾驶汽车大行其道时,这种公关噩梦就更不值一提了。
Mr Kalanick acknowledges that autonomy poses an “existential” risk to Uber.
卡拉尼克承认无人驾驶会对优步的存亡构成威胁。
If other companies produce safe software solutions earlier, they could launch ride-hailing or ride-sharing services that undercut and possibly destroy his company.
如果早前有公司开发出安全软件解决方案的话,他们就能推出打击甚至完成挤垮优步的叫车和拼车服务。
In an autonomous world, the competition may expand to include carmakers like GM, Ford and Tesla as well as tech companies like Google and Apple—which have mountains of cash to spend on fleets, if they want to.
在这个自动化世界里,竞争也许会波及到汽车制造商像通用公司,福特,特斯拉,以及技术大亨如谷歌、苹果,只要他们乐意,这些公司都有大量的资金来组建车队。
If the fleet model proves the way to go, Uber would have to give up its asset-light approach and join in.
如果组建自有车队的模式可行度高,那么优步将不得不放弃现有的轻资产运营模式而加入到自有车队的公司行列中来。
There are reasons to be optimistic about Uber's prospects in navigating this technological change.
我们有理由相信优步将主导这场科技变革。
Because transport is its whole business, it will work harder to ensure it is in the lead.
由于运输是其全部经营项目,优步将更加努力使运输处于领导地位。
Alphabet, Google's parent company, has more wonky projects than there are letters.
谷歌的母公司Alphabet已有很多不稳定的项目需要顾及。
Just as the shift to mobile concentrated Facebook's attention and required a great deal of discipline, the shift to autonomy has created an urgency and focus at Uber.
正如脸书向手机应用转型使其注意力更集中,纪律更严明,优步向无人驾驶车的转型也十分紧迫,需要十分专注。
At the same time, it should be able to incorporate autonomy piecemeal as it is phased in at different paces, and with different rules, in different jurisdictions.
同时,随着自动驾驶在施行不同规则的管辖区域以不同速度被分阶段引进,优步便能一点点将自动驾驶融入市场。
Such a transition will be hard for an all-autonomous approach.
要采用全自动的方式来应对这种转型是困难重重的。
That said, Uber has a reputation for pushing into new markets before regulations are in place and working out rules later; there are “lots of places where there aren't regulations at all, so you can just roll out”, says Mr Kalanick.
尽管如此,优步善于在相关规章制度建立完善之前快速进入新兴市场,然后制定规则。卡拉尼克说,“许多地方根本就没有相关制度,于是我们就推出自己的制度”。
That may not be such a good approach when it comes to autonomy.
然而,对于自动驾驶市场来说,这种方式并不讨喜。
Governments that have not thought through laws to govern autonomous vehicles as quickly as they might are unlikely to take kindly to self-driving cars barrelling down roads in the interregnum.
当政府还没有想清楚如何尽快制定法律来管理无人驾驶汽车时,他们不可能在过渡期对街上飞驰的无人驾驶汽车善意相待。
The shift to autonomous vehicles may improve riders' lives, but it could also spark a backlash against new technologies that put chauffeurs and truck drivers out of work.
向无人驾驶汽车转转型或许会提高乘客的生活质量,但这也有可能导致群众对这种新科技持对抗情绪,因为轿车和货车司机可能因此失业。
“We have a lot of attention as it is. I don't even know how we could get more,” says Mr Kalanick.
卡拉尼克说:“我们已经吸引了大量关注,我甚至不知道该如何获得更多注意”。
But if there is a lesson to be taken from Mr Carnegie's experience of empire-building in Pittsburgh, it is that the public rarely looks kindly on those who amass big fortunes if they do not contribute some of their winnings in return.
要说能从卡内基在匹兹堡建立帝国的经历中学到些什么的话,那便是:那些积累了大量财富的人如果不将他们的财富贡献一些出来的话,人们往往不会太友善。
Offering cheap rides is not going to be enough to count on the public's good graces.
即便向乘客提供廉价的出行服务,也不能换来他们的青睐。

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spark [spɑ:k]

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n. 火花,朝气,情人,俗丽的年轻人
vi.

 
interregnum [.intə'regnəm]

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n. 空位期,过渡期,中断

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produce [prə'dju:s]

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n. 产品,农作物
vt. 生产,提出,引起,

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contribute [kən'tribju:t]

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vt. 捐助,投稿
vi. 投稿,贡献,是原因

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unclear

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adj. 不清楚的;不易了解的

 
precise [pri'sais]

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adj. 精确的,准确的,严格的,恰好的

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entitled [in'taitld]

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adj. 有资格的,已被命名的 动词entitle的过去

 
concentrated ['kɔnsentreitid]

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adj. 全神贯注的,浓缩的 动词concentrate

 
extent [iks'tent]

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n. 广度,宽度,长度,大小,范围,范围,程度

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undercut ['ʌndəkʌt]

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v. 削弱,廉价出售或工作,从下边切 n. (牛的)嫩腰

 

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