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？
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.