The co-founder of ride hailing company Lyft Inc said last Tuesday a fatal collision in which an Uber Technologies Inc self-driving vehicle struck a pedestrian could have been prevented.
“I don’t know all the specifics. I did see the video. It did look like both the tech and the driver could have or should have prevented that. But I don’t know all the details,” Lyft co-founder John Zimmer told a small group of reporters during a visit to Washington.
Elaine Herzberg was walking her bicycle outside the crosswalk on a four-lane road in the Phoenix suburb of Tempe in the evening on March 18 when she was struck by the Uber vehicle traveling at about 64km per hour, according to police. The Volvo XC90 SUV was in autonomous mode with an operator behind the wheel.
The death of the 49-year-old woman has spurred questions about whether more oversight is needed for the nascent industry and prompted Arizona’s governor to suspend Uber testing.
Zimmer said it was important not to take shortcuts and put out new technology before it’s ready. “We need to make sure that all players are acting responsibly because, again, the goal is to actually make it a safer opportunity for people,” he said.
Currently, there are no performance standards or state or federal testing of self-driving vehicles before they are deployed on US roads.
Self-driving vehicles are designed to perform far better than human drivers and reduce the number of vehicle fatalities. Zimmer cited statistics showing that around 100 people per day are killed in vehicle-related accidents in the US.
“The goal is to take that to zero,” he said. “So I worry about — if it took autonomous [vehicles] one day more because of this, to get to market, that could be 100 people’s lives that are at risk.”
Lyft has been vying for a bigger share of the US ride-hailing market now dominated by Uber, which has been rocked by executive departures after an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment, bullying and other employee concerns.
Lyft has sought to brand itself as a more socially conscious company.
New cars are quickly getting self-driving features
Autonomous vehicles get all the headlines, but automakers are gradually adding advanced electronic safety features to human-driven cars as they step toward a world of self-driving vehicles.
Car and tech companies are rolling out laser sensors, artificial intelligence, larger viewing screens that show more of the road, cameras that can read speed limit signs, and systems that slow cars ahead of curves and construction zones.
Many of the new features repurpose cameras and radar that already are in cars for automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection and other safety devices. The companies also are keeping a closer watch on drivers to make sure they’re paying attention.
On Monday, Arizona’s governor suspended Uber’s self-driving vehicle testing privileges after one of its autonomous vehicles struck and killed a pedestrian last week. But auto engineers and industry analysts still say roads will become safer as more vehicles get automated features that either assist or replace human drivers. The government says 94 percent of crashes are caused by human error. (AP)
1. Do you think autonomous vehicle technology will make driving safer or could it actually become more dangerous?
2. Would fully-autonomous vehicles work in Taiwan, a country where scooters are the dominant mode of transport and adherence to traffic rules is somewhat lax?
3. Is it realistic to expect autonomous vehicle technology to reduce traffic accidents to zero?
4. Would you feel comfortable taking a nap in a vehicle operating in autonomous mode?
(Edward Jones, Taipei Times)
1. fatal collision phr.
(zhi4 ming4 zhuang4 ji2)
2. self-driving vehicle; autonomous vehicle phr.
(zi4 dong4 jia4 shi3 che1)
3. autonomous mode phr.
(zi4 dong4 jia4 shi3 mo2 shi4)
4. oversight n.
5. nascent adj.
(wei4 cheng2 shou2 de5)
6. take a shortcut phr.
(chao1 jie2 jing4)
7. performance standard phr.
(xing4 neng2 biao1 zhun3)
Let’s go for a spin in my new set of wheels (4/5) 坐我的新車去兜風吧（四） A: So what do you think of my Mini? B: Well. . . apart from the fact it’s absolutely boiling inside without any air conditioning — and the wind noise is quite loud compared to a modern car — it’s actually pretty cool! It feels a bit like I’m in a go-kart. A: That’s because of the Mini’s ultra-wide wheelbase, which means it handles corners really well. Modified Mini Coopers won the Monte Carlo Rally in 1964, 1965 and 1967. B: Wow! It feels like we’re driving in a piece of automobile history. A: 那麼，你覺得我的迷你車怎麼樣？ B: 嗯……除了車內沒有空調，感覺快被煮熟以外──而且風切聲跟現代汽車比起來有夠大聲──其實真的很酷！有一點感覺像是在卡丁車裡面。 A:
Let’s go for a spin in my new set of wheels (5/5)
坐我的新車去兜風吧（五） A: Can you hear a strange noise? B: Now you mention it, I can hear a faint whirring sound. Also, there’s a slight whiff of burnt rubber. A: Uh-oh! I’d better pull over and take a look... OK, sit tight. I’ll pop the hood and take a look at the engine. B: What’s the prognosis? A: I think the fan belt has worn out and caused the engine to overheat. I’d better call a mechanic... A: 你有聽到一種奇怪的噪音嗎？ B: 既然你說了，我確實有聽到微弱的低沉呼呼聲。另外，我還聞到一點點燒焦的橡膠味。 A: 哦哦！我最好停車檢查一下……。好，你坐穩，我要把引擎蓋打開，看看引擎有沒有問題。 B: 你推斷的病情是什麼？ A: 我想應該是風扇的皮帶破損了，導致引擎過熱。我最好打個電話給維修人員……。 （Edward Jones, Taipei Times／台北時報章厚明譯） English 英文: Chinese 中文:
Pets are an inseparable part of people’s lives in the modern world. About 65 percent of US households have at least one pet. On a psychological level, pet companionship can bring better psychological wellbeing; on a biological level, our furry friends can boost human immunity. According to a report in Psychology Today, a review carried out by researchers from the UK’s University of Manchester found that the companionship of pets can result in better psychological wellbeing for people with mental health conditions. The diabetes research center of the University of Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospital analyzed data from over 3 million people,
A: Hello, I’d like to book a table for two please. For 7 o’clock, if possible. B: Certainly, sir. Let me see if I can fit you in. I’m afraid we’re fully booked at that time, but we do have a space at 8pm. A: No problem, 8pm will be fine. B: Thank you. I‘ve reserved you a table for two for 8pm. Just to let you know, we operate a “bring your own” policy for wine, and corkage is NT$50 per bottle. A: OK. See you later on. A: 你好，我想要訂位，兩個人，方便的話晚上七點。 B: 好的，先生。讓我看看能不能幫您安排座位。不好意思，我們那段時間的訂位滿了，不過晚上八點還有空位。 A: 沒問題，晚上八點可以。 B: 謝謝您。我幫您預約晚上八點，兩個人的座位。另外，提醒您本餐廳關於「自行帶酒」的規定，每瓶酒酌收新台幣五十元開瓶費。 A: 好的。我們晚點見。 （Edward Jones,