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美国政府为无人驾驶汽车敞开大门

更新时间:2016-9-21 9:54:53 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

U.S. Signals Backing for Self-Driving Cars
美国政府为无人驾驶汽车敞开大门

WASHINGTON — Federal auto safety regulators on Monday made it official: They are betting the nation’s highways will be safer with more cars driven by machines and not people.

华盛顿——联邦汽车安全监管机构周一正式宣布:它们认为,美国公路上的车辆更多地由机器驾驶时将比由人驾驶更安全。

In long-awaited guidelines for the booming industry of automated vehicles, the Obama administration promised strong safety oversight, but sent a clear signal to automakers that the door was wide open for driverless cars.

自动汽车行业正蓬勃发展,在这份人们期待良久的行业指导意见中,奥巴马政府承诺要进行强有力的安全监管,但也向汽车厂商发出了一个清晰的信号:面向无人驾驶汽车的大门是完全敞开的。

“We envision in the future, you can take your hands off the wheel, and your commute becomes restful or productive instead of frustrating and exhausting,” said Jeffrey Zients, director of the National Economic Council, adding that highly automated vehicles “will save time, money and lives.”

“我们设想,在未来,大家可以把双手从方向盘上拿开,出行时不再心情不佳、疲惫不堪,而是能够休息或做其他的有用的事情,”国家经济委员会(National Economic Council)负责人杰弗里·齐恩茨(Jeffrey Zients)表示。他还称,高度自动化的车辆“将能节省时间和金钱,挽救生命。”

The statements were the most aggressive signal yet by federal regulators that they see automated car technology as a win for auto safety. Yet having officially endorsed the fast-evolving technology, regulators must now balance the commercial interests of companies including Tesla, Google and Uber with concerns over public safety, especially in light of recent crashes involving semiautonomous cars.

这是联邦监管机构迄今发出的最为积极的信号,传达出它们认为自动汽车技术有利于驾车安全。不过,既然正式支持了这项快速演进的技术,监管部门现在必须要在特斯拉(Tesla)、谷歌(Google)和优步(Uber)等公司的商业利益与外界对公共安全的关切之间取得平衡,尤其是考虑到近期曝光的涉及半自动汽车的几起撞车事故。

The policies unveiled on Monday were designed to walk that line. In a joint appearance, Mr. Zients and Anthony Foxx, secretary of the United States Department of Transportation, released the first guidelines, which outlined safety standards and encouraged uniform rules for the nascent technology. The instructions signaled to motorists that automated vehicles would not be a wild west where companies can try anything without oversight, but were also vague enough that automakers and technology companies would not fear over-regulation.

周一出台的政策即意在达到这种平衡。齐恩茨与联邦运输部长安东尼·福克斯(Anthony Foxx)共同出面,发布了首批指导意见,其中列出了安全标准,并鼓励对这项新兴技术制订统一规则。指导意见向驾车者发出了信号——自动汽车不会是各家公司在没有监管的情况下为所欲为的盲区——但也足够模糊,不会让汽车厂商和科技公司担心监管过度。

Driverless and semiautonomous cars have already hit the open roads, forcing regulators to keep up. Tesla, the electric-car maker, has sold tens of thousands of cars with a self-driving feature known as Autopilot. The company has been grappling with the fallout from the death in May of a Florida driver who had the car’s Autopilot on, as well as a report last week of another crash in China where the technology was turned on.

无人驾驶与半自动汽车已经上了公路,迫使监管部门要跟上步伐。电动车厂商特斯拉售出了数千辆带有Autopilot自动驾驶功能的汽车。今年5月,佛罗里达州的一名司机在开启Autopilot功能的情况下车祸身亡,上周又有报道称,中国发生过一起事故,当时正在使用该项技术。特斯拉正在应对它们的后果。

Tesla plans as soon as this week to download new software to its cars. The company’s chief executive, Elon Musk, has said the new software will include improvements to Autopilot that could have avoided the fatal accident in May.

特斯拉计划最早在本周让旗下汽车产品下载新软件。公司首席执行官埃隆·马斯克(Elon Musk)表示,新软件将包含对Autopilot的改进,可以避免5月的那类致命事故。

Uber, the ride-hailing giant, began trials in Pittsburgh last week to let its most loyal customers order rides from driverless cars through their smartphone app. Google has been testing self-driving cars in its hometown Mountain View, Calif., and rivals including Apple are also exploring similar technology.

上周,叫车服务业的巨头优步开始在匹兹堡测试,让最忠实的顾客通过它们的智能手机应用叫无人驾驶车辆。谷歌一直在总部所在的加州山景城测试旗下的自动驾驶汽车,而包括苹果(Apple)在内的其他一些竞争对手也在探索类似技术。

Last year, there were nearly 40,000 deaths in the United States from auto-related accidents, the deadliest for automotive-related deaths since 2008 and the largest year-over-year percentage increase in 50 years, according to the National Safety Council.

根据国家安全管理委员会(National Safety Council)公布的数据,去年,全美有近4万人死于与汽车有关的事故,是2008年以来死亡人数最高的一年,还取得了50年来最大的同比增幅。

Karl Brauer, senior editor at Kelley Blue Book, an auto research and valuation company, said the new guidelines strike a balance between ensuring safety as automakers develop self-driving cars and making sure the introduction of lifesaving technology is not delayed unnecessarily.

汽车调研与评估公司凯利蓝皮书(Kelley Blue Book)的高级编辑卡尔·布劳尔(Karl Brauer)表示,新出炉的指导意见权衡了两方面的需求:一方面是汽车厂商开发自动驾驶车辆时要保障安全,另一方面则是确保这种能挽救生命的技术不会在没必要的情况下推迟运用。

“We are in this weird transition,” Mr. Brauer said. “It’s a tough balance for the regulators. You want to get this technology out, but you don’t want to move too quickly.”

“我们正处在尴尬的过渡期,”布劳尔说。“对监管部门来说是个艰难的平衡。你既希望让技术出台,又不希望步子迈得太快。”

The new guidelines on Monday targeted four main areas. The Department of Transportation announced a 15-point safety standard for the design and development of autonomous vehicles; called for states to come up with uniform policies applying to driverless cars; clarified how current regulations can be applied to driverless cars; and opened the door for new regulations on the technology.

周一的新指导意见针对四个主要领域。运输部公布了适用于设计与开发自动车辆的15点安全标准;呼吁各州推出无人驾驶车辆方面的统一政策;澄清了目前的监管规定如何适用于无人驾驶车辆;以及为有关这一技术的新监管开辟道路。

Currently, driverless cars face a patchwork of state regulations. In the last three years, about a dozen states have passed laws that specifically address testing of driverless vehicles. Most laws require a licensed driver to be in the car.

目前,无人驾驶车辆面临零散的州级监管规定。过去三年里,十余州通过了专门针对测试无人驾驶车辆的法律。这类法规中,多数要求车里要有取得驾驶证的司机。

Mr. Foxx said states would continue to regulate the licensing of drivers and insurance. But Mr. Foxx affirmed the agency’s oversight over the software technology used in driverless cars.

福克斯部长表示,将继续由各州监管驾驶证与保险事宜。不过,他申明由运输部监管在无人驾驶车辆中使用的软件技术。

“What we are trying to do is avoid a patchwork of state laws,” Mr. Foxx said.

“我们是在尽力避免州级法律带来的不成体系的问题,”福克斯说。

The federal guidelines were welcomed by auto manufacturers. Ford, which is targeting fully autonomous vehicles by 2021 for ride-sharing, said in a statement that the guidance “will help establish the basis for a national framework that enables the safe deployment of autonomous vehicles. We also look forward to collaborating with states on areas that complement this national framework.”

此次发布的联邦指导意见受到了汽车生产厂家的欢迎。福特的目标是在2021年为拼车服务生产出全自动汽车。公司发表声明称,指导意见“将为能够实现安全利用自动车辆的全国性框架奠定基础。我们还期望与各州合作,共同推进完善这一全国性框架。”

The government’s endorsement will speed up the rollout of autonomous cars, experts said, potentially within the next five years.

专家表示,政府的表态将会加快自动汽车的推出,有可能在未来五年内就实现这一点。

“It helps companies by providing some cover. If a car crashes, courts may look to these guidelines to help us determine what was reasonable and not,” said Bryant Walker Smith, a professor at the University of South Carolina.

“它为企业提供了某种保护,从而对它们有所帮助。假如出了车祸,法院可以参照这些指导意见来帮助我们认定什么是合理的,什么又不是,”南卡罗来纳大学(University of South Carolina)教授布莱恩特·沃克·史密斯(Bryant Walker Smith)说。

Large automakers in particular have made big strides in the technological development of driverless cars but have been wary of introducing those features too quickly without the backing of federal regulators.

尤其是,大型汽车厂商正在无人驾驶车辆的技术开发上取得长足进步,却又担心在没有联邦监管机构的支持下过快引入这类功能。

“Big companies love certainty and targets that they need to aim for,” said Brad Templeton, a consultant and publisher of Robocars.com.

“大公司喜欢有确定性和可以让它们去瞄准的目标,”Robocars网站的顾问兼出版人布拉德·坦普尔顿(Brad Templeton)说。

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