Passage 2 美国高速公路发展历史
Aside from the red emergency stop button and the top-secret display screen that visitors may not photograph, the Cadillac SRX prototypes being tested here look just like the production cars.
The United States has one of the best highway systems in the world。 Interstate highways connect just about every large and mid-sized city in the country。 Did u ever wonder why such a complete system of excellent roads exists？ For an answer， u would have to go back to the early 1920s。 In those years just after World War 1， the military wanted to build an American highway system for national defense such a system could if necessary move troops quickly from one area to another。 It could also get people out of cities in danger of being bombed， so-called roads of national importance were designated， but they were mostly small country roads。 In 1944 Congress passed a bill to upgrade the system but did not fund the plan right away。 In the 1950s， the plan began to become a reality。 Over 25 billion dollars was appropriated by Congress and construction began on about 40000 miles of new roads。 The idea was to connect the new system to existing expressways and freeways。 And though the system was built mostly to make car travel easier， defense was not forgotten。 For instance， highway overpasses had to be high enough to allow trailers carrying military missiles to pass under them。 By 1974，this system was mostly completed a few additional roads would come later。 Quick and easy travel between all parts of the country was now possible。
Except these vehicles drive themselves.
Questions 19 to 21 are based on the passage you have just heard。
Here at its proving grounds, General Motors is working out the kinks in the Super Cruise feature that it wants to launch by 2020 as its first push into hands-off driving. During a recent demonstration, GM showed journalists that the prototypes can follow the pace of traffic and follow a lane for minutes at a time -- though the driver must always be ready to take back the wheel.
Q19。 What does the speaker say about the American highway system。
The strategy is less bold than Google's. The technology company surprised the auto industry with vows that within five years, it will have market-ready technology that can carry passengers from point A to point B without input from a driver. GM also is not talking as big a game as Nissan, which announced last month that by 2020 it will have a fully self-driving car using technology called Autonomous Drive.
Q20。 What was the original purpose of building a highway system。
But according to John Capp, GM's director of global active safety, the company sees a step-by-step approach as the best way to bring self-driving cars to market.
Q21。 When was the interstate highway system mostly completed。
"This is about the level of functionality that we think is realistic fairly soon," said Capp, 49. "Maybe somebody else will solve all of the problems inside the same window and get that to market. And that would be remarkable."
Capp said that by the end of the decade, GM will put the automated road trip feature in an add-on package for a price close to the $3,000 that Cadillac buyers already pay to outfit a car with sensors and cameras for driver assist features.
Luxury brands such as Mercedes-Benz and BMW are seen as being in the lead on self-driving cars. For the 2014 model year, both companies came out with low-speed systems meant to turn the wheel and work the pedals in traffic jams, and within a few years they could start offering hands-free, feet-free software that can handle highway driving.
Richard Bishop, a Maryland-based consultant on connected cars, said a larger automaker such as GM or Nissan could still shake up the market by coming out with a system such as Super Cruise that will operate at a full range of speeds on the highway.
By announcing that it plans to be there by 2020, Nissan was trying to "get into the club in a public way," he said. "Now it seems that every car company has to take that step, if they haven't already."
Charles Green, an engineering specialist at GM, said the Super Cruise team wants its feature to work up to any speed limit in the United States.
Passage 3 智能方向盘
There will be a top speed, though. "Some people will be disappointed," Green said.
Texting while driving was listed as a major cause of road deaths among young Americans back in 2013。 A recent study said that 40 percent of American teens claimed to have been in a car when the driver used a cell phone in a way that put people in danger。 This sounds like a widespread disease but it‘s one that technology may now help to cure。 T.J。 Evert， a 20 –year-old inventor， has come up with a novel solution that could easily put texting drivers on notice。 It’s called Smart Wheel and it‘s designed to fit over the steering wheel of most standard vehicles to track whether or not the driver has two hands on the wheel at all times。 Evert’s invention warns the drivers with a light and a sound when they hold the wheel with one hand only。 But as soon as they place the other hand back on the wheel the light turns back to green and the sound stops。 It also watches for what’s called “close by hands” where both hands are close together near the top of the wheel， so the driver can type with both thumbs and drive at the same time。 All the data smart wheel collects is also sent to a connected app， so any parents who install smart wheel can keep track of the teen‘s driving habits。 If they try to remove or damage the cover， that’s reported as well。
Different visions at GM, Google
Q22。 What is a major cause of road deaths among young Americans？
必威，GM's preferred path to the self-driving car shows the difference between risk-averse automakers and the sink-or-swim startup culture of Silicon Valley.
Q23。 What is Smart Wheel？
Most car companies preach the wisdom of going step by step on self-driving cars, because moving too quickly would heighten the risk of recalls and lawsuits. But top executives at Google have set the goal of jumping straight to a car so sophisticated it could shuttle around the blind and the elderly.
Q24。 What happens if the driver has one hand on the wheel？
The two visions have made it hard to talk about the technology without using loaded words. Some engineers and executives have begun insisting on terms such as "piloted" instead of "autonomous" and "driverless" to emphasize that a human will still be in control.
Q25。 How do parents keep track of their teen‘s driving habits？
This year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration tried to calm the debate with a set of dry technical terms ranging from Level 0 to Level 4 automation.
开车时发短信被列为2013年年轻美国人死于道路的主要原因。最近的一项研究表明，40%的美国青少年声称在驾驶员使用手机时让人危险。这听起来像是一种普遍的疾病，但技术现在可能有助于治愈。 T.J。 Evert是一位20岁的发明家，他提出了一种新颖的解决方案，可以很容易地通知发短信的司机。它被称为智能车轮，它被设计用于安装在大多数标准车辆的方向盘上，以跟踪司机是否始终有两只手在车轮上。 Evert的发明仅在单手握住车轮时用光线和声音警告司机。但只要他们将另一只手放回车轮上，灯光就会变回绿色，声音就会停止。它还监视所谓的“靠近手”，在靠近车轮顶部的地方双手靠得很近，因此驾驶者可以同时用拇指和驱动器敲击。所有数据智能车轮收集的信息也会发送到连接的应用程序，因此安装智能车轮的父母可以跟踪青少年的驾驶习惯。如果他们试图移除或损坏封面，那也是有报道的。
It cut down on misunderstandings, said Annie Lien, a former senior engineer at Audi who oversaw an effort to program a car to drive into a parking lot and park itself. (Lien said she prefers "automated" or "self-driving," though she admits to using "autonomous" on occasion because it has gained a fair amount of popularity.)
Q22。 美国年轻人死于道路的主要原因是什么？ Q23。 什么是智能车轮？ Q24。 如果驾驶员一只手放在车轮上会发生什么？ Q25。 父母如何跟踪他们青少年的驾驶习惯？
Lien agrees with the automakers on the need for caution. She said moving too quickly could leave the first self-driving cars without certain features -- such as the ability to safely pull onto the shoulder of a highway, instead of just stopping in traffic, if a sick or sleeping driver does not retake control.
"That is a safety-critical feature that has be worked on and perfected," Lien said. "If you skip steps, this could be the step that you skip."
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Getting Super Cruise software ready for market will be a big task, but most of the necessary hardware already is in high-end GM cars.
A fully loaded Cadillac ATS sedan with a Driver Assistance package that launched last year has as many as 18 electronic eyes, in the form of sensors and cameras, Green said.
The $3,220 package in the ATS includes eight ultrasonic sensors to help with parking -- 10 if the buyer opts for another self-parking feature. It also includes six radars to cover short, medium and long distances, a backup camera and a camera behind the rearview mirror for lane departure warning and forward collision warning.
Using similar equipment for Super Cruise would reduce the feature's cost, making it easier to include in an add-on package. For comparison, Google's prototype cars use a roof-mounted lidar, or laser radar sensor, that cost about $70,000 last year.
"To bring a $20,000 option package to the market doesn't make sense. We'd sell two," Capp said. "We'd get a lot of press, and we could talk about how we were first to do this, that and the other thing, but we have stockholders too."
Unlike the traffic jam assist systems from BMW and Mercedes, GM's system will not require a driver to keep a hand on the wheel.
'Looking for the unexpected'
So engineers are coming up with ways to keep the driver engaged -- and set their product apart.
Green would not discuss what GM has in mind, but one possibility might be a haptic feedback seat that rumbles to warn a driver of danger. GM holds a patent on that feature, which is available in the ATS.
Jeremy Salinger, r&d manager for Super Cruise, said engineers are refining Super Cruise by taking the SRX prototypes on half-day slogs, mostly around a circular four-mile track at the proving grounds. So far, they have put tens of thousands of miles on the system, he said.
The next step is making sure that Super Cruise can handle the varied weather and roads around the country. Simply reading standard lane markers is not enough; for instance, California has its "Botts' dots," raised bumps that replace painted lines.
As Salinger spoke, some of the great blue herons that roam GM's proving grounds were walking across a nearby road, paying no regard to the crosswalk -- just the type of surprise Super Cruise must to be prepared to handle.
Said Salinger: "We're looking for the unexpected."