Luyện Nghe VOA: How Will Driverless Technology Change Our Lives?

How Will Driverless Technology Change Our Lives?
Almost every day, we (1)______________ a new development in the world of driverless technology. But how will this technology change our lives when cars (2)__________________ humans to drive them?
Major automakers are now (3)_________________ driverless cars.
Technology companies like Apple, Google and Uber are also working to bring driverless technology to market.
James Anderson is a senior (4)________________ at the RAND Corporation. He is also an expert on driverless transportation. He said the first (5)__________________ is already here. The technology allows cars to change lanes, control speed and warn drivers of hazards.
“The idea is that drivers first use these, and then become more confident to use the technology more,” he said. “But the risk of that is that research suggests people tend to (6)________________ the equipment, and may or may not be able to jump back in and take over on short notice.”
Setback for driverless technology
In May, a driver (7)______________ while using the “Autopilot” feature on a Tesla car. It was the first known U.S. death involving a car operating in self-drive mode.
Officials said (8)__________________ in Florida when a tractor-trailer turned in front of the Tesla Model S. Investigators said it appeared the car’s cameras failed to (9)__________________ the large white side of the tractor-trailer and the brightly lit sky.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it is investigating the accident, as well as the (10)__________________ of Tesla’s Autopilot system.
The driver of the truck told the (11)_________________ the driver of the car was “playing Harry Potter on the TV screen” before the crash.
The Florida Highway Patrol (12)_________________ it found a portable DVD player in the car after the accident. But it could not confirm whether a movie was playing at the time of the crash.
Tesla’s founder, Elon Musk, (13)_________________ for the accident. Tesla said it was the first known death in more than 200 million kilometers driven with its Autopilot system.
Autopilot allows the car to steer itself in a lane, change lanes, and speed up or slow down based on (14)_________________. Tesla said the system is designed only to assist drivers, who must manually turn it on.
The company tells drivers that even when using Autopilot, they need to keep both hands on the (15)________________ at all times.
“Autopilot is getting better all the time, but it is not perfect and (16)__________________ the driver to remain alert,” Tesla said.
Despite these dangers, autonomous cars are expected to greatly (17)_________________. Currently, about 90 percent of crashes are caused by human error.
James Anderson said the big automakers have pledged to add (18)__________________ on all vehicles within five years.
Driverless technology leads to disruption
Even though few accidents is good, Anderson said this would cause a lot of (19)___________________. “There’s a whole crash economy that is dependent on the regular occurrence of automobile crashes.” He said job losses would come in the insurance industry and in hospitals where crash (20)____________________.
In addition, other driving-related jobs (21)________________. There are millions of truck drivers, delivery drivers, taxi drivers, and other driving-related jobs in the U.S. “A lot of those jobs are (22)________________,” he said.
A California company already has plans to sell (23)________________ for tractor-trailer trucks. The company, Otto, was started by former Google engineer Anthony Levandowski.
Just the thought of an 18-wheel truck speeding down the highway fully loaded with cargo makes many (24)_______________. But Levandowski said the technology is very safe. He says the goal is to make trucks drive as much like humans as possible, but with the (25)__________________.
How will technology change our lives?
Carlo Ratti heads the SENSEable City Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The lab studies how (26)_________________ are changing cities and how this will change how people get around in the future.
“The (27)___________________ about a self-driving car is not really the fact that you don’t need to keep your hands on the (28)_______________. For us, the most exciting thing is that it’s going to have a profound impact on mobility in our cities.”
Ratti said cars are now only being used about 5 percent of the time. Most of the time they are parked and using up (29)__________________.
In the future, a (30)_________________ could give you a ride to work in the morning. But then the same car could be used (31)________________ to take other people around the city. This car-sharing model would blur the lines between private and public transportation, Ratti said.
“We could (32)___________________ cars and rides better. That means a city where you could theoretically make everybody’s destination in Washington or New York, or Singapore – a big city or a small city – with 20 percent of the cars we have today.”
He said another (33)________________ could be the removal of traffic intersections. “At that point, you could think about (34)_______________. Intersections where vehicles don’t need to stop at a junction, but they can keep going and simply avoid bumping into each other.”
Ratti said he believes driverless technology will lead to (35)_____________ and sustainable transportation. But it will also leave questions about who will (36)___________________.
“When you think about building a (37)_________________, the question is, who’s going to charge or bill other people? Who’s going to enact different (38)__________________? So it really becomes much more about how we’re going to distribute the benefits of this new transportation system across society.”
Another big question is how ready the public is, or will be, to use driverless technology.
Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania are reporting (39)____________________ with self-driving vehicles.
Lead researcher, Professor Raj Rajkumar, said it really (40)_____________ for people to trust the car enough to let go of the wheel.
“They begin to see that the (41)________________, very rational, drives safely, and then they begin to relax,” he said.
U.S.-based Local Motors has even used (42)________________ to produce self-driving vehicles. It recently introduced a new minibus called “Olli” that can carry up to 12 people.
The vehicle (43)_________________ to call for rides with a mobile app similar to Uber. The company says about 75 percent of the entire vehicle can currently be 3-D printed, and it can be (44)________________ in 11 hours.
I’m Bryan Lynn.
And I'm Anne Ball.
Bryan Lynn reported this story for VOA Learning English. Additional information came from the Associated Press and Hai Do was the editor.
We want to hear from you. Would you trust a self-driving car enough to take a ride? Write to us in the Comments section, and visit our Facebook page.

Words in This Story

tractor-trailer – n. large truck with a trailer attached to the back
disruption – n. an interruption in normal progress
blur – v. to make unclear or confused
theoretically – adv. related to something that is possible, but not yet known to be true
sustainable – adj. able to be maintained at a certain rate or level
rational – adj. based on facts or reason and not emotions or feelings

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