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  • Every year, more than a million people

  • in the world die in road traffic accidents.

  • And many of those fatalities are caused by us,

  • by the mistakes we make as drivers.

  • But there's a solution.

  • Okay we're ready.

  • Okay, engaging.

  • And it's to relinquish

  • control of the wheel to a computer.

  • We've dreamed about it for decades,

  • and now we finally have the technology to get us very close.

  • The rest is up to these two.

  • They're teaching autonomous cars how to drive.

  • My name is Daniela Landey.

  • My name is Steven Lin.

  • And we're autonomous vehicle operators.

  • Daniela and Steven work for

  • a start-up called Aurora,

  • and they're part of a team of about two dozen specialists

  • who drive the company's fleet of self-driving cars

  • on the roads of Pittsburgh, Palo Alto,

  • and here in San Francisco.

  • Aurora's software learns from their expert example,

  • so to get this job, they had to

  • be excellent drivers to start with.

  • And to become even better,

  • they then went through six weeks of training.

  • Today, I'm here at the Sonoma Raceway

  • to experience just a small part of that training

  • and to see if I have what it takes to do this job

  • before I hop in the back

  • of a self-driving vehicle myself.

  • Nobody actually, in my opinion, knows how to drive a car.

  • You all drove here today,

  • so I'm not, don't, I'm not bashing you, right.

  • But do you know how to handle a car

  • when a car does something out of the ordinary?

  • That's what today's all about.

  • All right, let's go have fun.

  • Among the first drills was emergency braking.

  • All right, Daniela, come on down.

  • Since Steven and Daniela have already

  • completed this kind of training,

  • they're here today to brush up on what they already know.

  • Excellent.

  • And to show me how it's done.

  • Good job!

  • All right, next car, full throttle all the way to me,

  • don't brake early.

  • Full throttle, go, go, go, go, keep going

  • guide the brake.

  • Go, go, go, go, go, stop

  • And then it was time for a series

  • of high speed lane changes.

  • Godspeed.

  • Imagine you are forced to suddenly swerve on the highway

  • to avoid an obstacle?

  • Get that brake timing down.

  • Release, release, release, there ya go, awesome.

  • All right, here go, 50 right lane.

  • 50, right.

  • 50, right lane, that's not 50.

  • Go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go

  • And turn.

  • And for an especially tricky challenge,

  • the instructors had us recover from a skid.

  • Show off.

  • Oh, oop, Oh my God! Ah!

  • Let's just say it's a good thing

  • no self driving car will be learning from me anytime soon.

  • The next week I went to go see Daniela and Steven

  • at their office in San Francisco.

  • Come on in, welcome.

  • Founded in 2017, by engineers

  • from the early autonomous vehicle projects

  • at Google, Tesla, and Uber,

  • Aurora is developing technology to power self driving cars.

  • And so far, it's signed deals with automakers

  • including Volkswagen and Hyundai.

  • Daniela and Steven have invited me here

  • to be the very first reporter to sit in the back

  • of one of their self driving cars.

  • It says ready up here.

  • Ready?

  • We are ready.

  • Okay, we're engaging.

  • Now we are in auto.

  • Oh, whoa.

  • Yep.

  • Tracking the car ahead, stopping.

  • So the car right now is stopping on its own?

  • It's stopping on its own, its thinking,

  • its making decisions.

  • This is really cool,

  • getting to see what the car sees.

  • [Steven And Daniela] Yeah.

  • What are these yellow boxes?

  • The yellow box right there is,

  • that's a bicyclist. That's a cyclist,

  • oh cool.

  • So the car recognizes that this is a bicyclist

  • and if you see these kinda blue boxes,

  • that means the vehicle recognizes it as a vehicle.

  • And the red boxes are pedestrians?

  • Pedestrians, exact, you're hired.

  • Aurora does a lot of its testing virtually

  • within the safety of a simulation.

  • But to teach the system how to react

  • to all the crazy things that happen in a city

  • as nuts as San Francisco,

  • you need to take it out in real life.

  • What's the biggest misconception

  • your friends have about your job?

  • That we just sit behind a wheel and do nothing.

  • Auroroa's operators take turns

  • as pilots and copilots of the cars.

  • Today, Daniela is the pilot.

  • I'm looking at everything, I'm thinking about everything,

  • planning for everything.

  • If the car decides to bail out in the middle

  • of the intersection, what am I gonna do?

  • See how her hands are ever so slightly

  • touching the wheel?

  • Her foot hovering just above the brake?

  • She's ready to take over in a fraction of a second,

  • whenever she or the car senses she needs to.

  • And that's a bailout.

  • Oh.

  • And I took over.

  • The car saw something that was not accurate

  • and it gives me control.

  • As Daniela's copilot today,

  • Steven's job is to keep an eye on his laptop

  • that shows what the car see.

  • Getting a false positive

  • on the left, flickering.

  • He alerts Daniela to the things

  • she might not see with the naked eye

  • and prepares her for what the self-driving system

  • is about to do next.

  • It's gonna want a left lane change.

  • Okay.

  • As the copilot, Steven is also taking notes

  • on when Daniela needs to intervene.

  • Later on the engineers will pour over this data,

  • so they can figure out what went wrong.

  • This is all part of the painstaking process

  • of teaching a computer how to drive.

  • It's brain, it's a little baby brain that learns--

  • That you are nurturing, step by step.

  • Um, hm, yeah, I call all of them my baby robots.

  • I swear, because we're teaching them.

  • Each operator at Aurora has responsibilities

  • outside the car, too.

  • Steven assigns operators to drive the routes

  • that engineers needs them to drive.

  • And Daniela liaises with the team that builds the maps

  • the vehicles rely on.

  • Because driverless technology is so new,

  • operators come from all kinds of backgrounds.

  • And the job doesn't require a special degree,

  • or prior industry experience.

  • Daniela was a surgeon in Mexico

  • and worked for the fire service

  • after she move to the states.

  • And Steven was a military police sergeant in the army.

  • Operators at Aurora earn about $30-$40 an hour.

  • And as full time employees their benefits

  • include health care, equity,

  • and fitting of the tech company stereotype, free lunch.

  • You know you guys are teaching cars how to drive

  • and if you're successful that is going

  • to replace a lot of jobs out there,

  • Uber drivers for example.

  • That's millions of jobs, how do you think about that?

  • We've had interactions where people tell us

  • you're taking jobs away from people,

  • but what I like to say is,

  • imagine you're living in a world

  • where you don't have to worry about drunk drivers,

  • you don't have to worry about people

  • who are texting on their phones, and, you know,

  • just being reckless.

  • Yeah, we might lose some cab driver jobs

  • But will it save millions of lives?

  • Right.

  • In the long run.

  • In the future, our cars aren't going

  • to need the kind of intensive teaching

  • that Steven and Daniela are doing now.

  • But when it comes to the most high stakes

  • life or death responsibilities

  • that we'll soon entrust to computers,

  • we're gonna want human experts

  • to be vetting those capabilities for a very long time.

  • We're still gonna be testing, for perhaps new features,

  • new avenues, new ways to use self-driving technology

  • in other type of vehicles, so I don't believe

  • this job will disappear anytime soon.

Every year, more than a million people

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    wcchen1203 發佈於 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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