Headline English

Driverless car

2. 6. 2014

It is well known that Google has been working on driverless car technology. The corporation had been testing standard cars with sensors, technology and navigation equipment. A new milestone (1) in the development has been reached recently. Google has revealed that it has produced a prototype of its own car which will use this technology.

The car is very small and has a maximum speed of 25mph (40km/h). Its interior looks rather unusual. It lacks the standard controls normally found in every car. There is no steering wheel, no gear (2) lever (3) and no pedals; just an emergency stop button. Google says it will build 100 of the vehicles, which will be used for testing in order to ensure the safety of the technology. These vehicles, however, will still have to have manual controls in order to be allowed to operate in California, where the testing is going to take place.

Autonomous vehicles are allowed under California law, but only if the driver can intervene in an emergency. Ironically, improved road safety is seen by Google as one of the main benefits of moving to driverless cars. Machines do not make mistakes nearly as often as humans.

The company says that its testing had shown that humans taking over the control of the car suddenly could lead to unpredictable and potentially dangerous results. This is why it is suggesting that taking out the conventional controls would actually enhance (4) the car’s safety.

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/may/28/google-reveals-driverless-car-prototype

Questions

  1. What is, according to the article, the difference between the driverless car technology used by Google so far and the new car?
  2. What is, according to the article, unusual about the new car?
  3. According to the article, will the 100 cars that Google is going to produce soon be identical to the prototype revealed?
  4. Does Google argue that letting computers drive your car will enhance its safety?
  5. According to the article, can driverless cars be operated in California?
  6. Would you like your next car to be a driverless one?
  7. What impact do you think Google’s driverless car technology is going to have on our mobility generally?

Vocabulary

milestone (1) – a very important event in the development of something

gear (2) – the machinery in a vehicle such as a car, truck, or bicycle that you use to go comfortably at different speeds

lever (3) – a stick or handle on a machine or piece of equipment, that you move to operate it

enhance (4) – to improve something

 

You can find additional explanation and more examples to help you understand and use English words and phrases at https://dictionary.reference.com, https://dictionary.cambridge.org/, https://www.merriam-webster.com/ or https://www.ldoceonline.com/

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