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卡车驶向无人驾驶的未来
Trucks headed for a driverless future

来源:FT中文网    2018-02-12 07:29



        While companies ranging from Google offshoot Waymo to established businesses such as Toyota or General Motors work on self-driving passenger cars, truck manufacturers have been quietly developing similar technology.        从谷歌(Google)的Waymo到丰田(Toyota)和通用汽车(General Motors)等老牌车企,不少企业正在竞相开发无人驾驶乘用车。与此同时,卡车制造商也在悄然开发类似技术。
        “Driverless trucks could be a regular presence on many roads within the next 10 years,” says José Viegas, former secretary-general of the International Transport Forum (ITF), a think-tank that operates under the umbrella of the OECD, whose members include the world’s richest countries. “Trials on public roads are under way in many regions including the US and the EU. Manufacturers are investing heavily into automation, and many governments are actively reviewing their regulations.”        富国俱乐部——经济合作与发展组织(OECD)旗下智库“国际运输论坛”(ITF)的前秘书长何塞•维加斯(José Viegas)表示:“未来10年内,无人驾驶卡车在很多道路上可能成为常态。包括美国和欧盟在内的很多地区正在进行无人驾驶卡车的公共道路测试。卡车制造商正在投入巨资研发自动驾驶技术,同时许多国家的政府在积极审议他们的监管规定”。
        Volvo Group already has a fully automated truck operating in Kristineberg mine in Sweden. It also recently demonstrated a fully driverless truck in China that can drive between delivery hubs without the need for a human operator.        沃尔沃集团(Volvo Group)的一辆全自动驾驶卡车已经在瑞典克里斯蒂内伯格的一个矿区运行。最近,该公司还在中国展示了一辆完全无人驾驶的卡车,它可以在无需人工操作的情况下在投递中心之间行驶。
        For truckmakers and their haulage customers, the potential upside from removing drivers is huge in the slim-margin world of shifting goods. Labour accounts for up to 45 per cent of total road freight costs, according to a 2015 study by economic research group Panteia.        对于卡车制造商及其从事货运业务的客户来说,不再需要司机潜在会给微利的货运行业带来巨大好处。根据荷兰经济研究机构Panteia于2015年进行的一项研究,劳动力成本在公路货物运输总成本中的占比高达45%。
        But what will become of the vast trucking workforce?        但是,卡车运输行业的劳动大军会怎么样呢?
        “Self-driving trucks threaten to disrupt the careers and lives of millions of professional truck drivers,” says Steve Cotton, general secretary of the International Transport Workers’ Federation, a global association of around 700 unions representing nearly 20m members from 150 countries.        国际运输工人联合会(International Transport Workers' Federation)秘书长史蒂夫•科腾(Steve Cotton)表示:“自动驾驶卡车给数百万职业卡车司机的职业和生计带来了威胁。”该组织是由大约700个工会组成的全球协会,代表150个国家的近2000万名工会会员。
        In a May 2017 report, the ITF predicted that up to 4.4m of the 6.4m professional trucking jobs in the US and Europe could be eliminated by autonomous technology.        在2017年5月发表的一份报告中,国际运输工人联合会预计,在美国和欧洲的640万名职业卡车司机中,多达440万将被自动驾驶技术抢走饭碗。
        “While truck drivers are typically flexible, self-reliant and able to concentrate for long periods, their relatively low education level and potential automation in other sectors puts them at a high risk of extended periods of unemployment,” the report says.        这份报告还指出:“虽然卡车司机通常比较灵活、独立性强、能够长时间集中注意力,但相对较低的的教育程度,加之其他行业也可能走向自动化,使他们面临很高的长期失业风险。”
        “Autonomous driving will also happen in trucks sooner or later, but we think this will not lead necessarily to fewer trucks on the road,” a report from analysts at HSBC says. “It should just mean the truck driver can be eliminated, reducing the operating costs and also increase fuel savings.”        汇丰(HSBC)的一份分析师报告表示:“卡车迟早也会采用自动驾驶技术,但我们认为,这不一定会导致道路上行驶的卡车数量减少,而只是意味着卡车司机可能被取代,从而削减运营成本,加大燃油节省。”
        Automated trucks may solve another problem too: a chronic shortage of suit­able drivers. The industry overall has been struggling to recruit, with potential employees put off by the long stints away from home and the tedium of hours of motorway driving.        自动驾驶卡车还可能解决另一个问题:合格卡车司机长期短缺。行业在总体上一直面临司机招聘难的问题,长时间离家在外、在高速公路上连续好几个小时的单调乏味的驾驶让潜在雇员却步。
        “Autonomous vehicles will help the haulage sector deal with the current shortage of drivers in many parts of the world,” says Christian Labrot, president of the International Road Transport Union.        国际道路运输联盟(IRU)主席克里斯蒂安•拉布罗特(Christian Labrot)表示:“自动驾驶车辆将有助于运输行业应对全球许多地区目前存在的司机短缺问题。”
        Not all roles will be lost, however. When the Port of Rotterdam began using autonomous vehicles, the shift created jobs in centralised control terminals to monitor the trucks and remotely control them if necessary.        然而,不是所有的岗位都会消失。当鹿特丹港开始使用自动驾驶车辆后,这一转变创造了在中央控制终端监控卡车、并在必要时对其进行遥控的工作岗位。
        Moreover, when goods in trucks arrive at their destination, they have to be manually unloaded and checked before transferring to final-mile delivery — a difficult area to automate.        而且,当卡车运送的货物到达目的地时,必须由人工卸货并对货物进行检查,然后将货物转移至最后一公里送货部门,这是一个难以实现自动化的领域。
        Ultimately, all these changes are likely to be slow. Few in the industry expect fully autonomous trucks to be in operation within a decade, and the vehicles are likely to require drivers inside them even when using a high degree of automation that stops short of full self-driving capability.        归根结底,所有这些变化都很可能是缓慢的。业内几乎没有人认为,完全自动驾驶卡车能够在10年内投入使用。而且,即使采用高度自动的驾驶技术,只要不具备完全自动驾驶能力,就很可能仍需要司机坐在车内。
        The slow introduction of the technology will allow for a gradual retraining of the current workforce, and a managed transition to the new technology.        技术的缓慢引入将让现有员工队伍逐步接受再培训,并以有管理的方式向新技术过渡。
        Martin Lundstedt, chief executive of Volvo Group, says: “We need to have a gradual development, where we are training people to do new tasks, but to stop the development would be a mistake. You need to embrace the structural changes to society, otherwise we will not meet the challenges ahead of us.”        沃尔沃集团的首席执行官马丁•伦德斯秦特(Martin Lundstedt)表示:“我们需要一个逐步发展的过程,这样我们可以培训人们去执行新的任务。但停止开发将是一个错误。你需要拥抱社会的结构性变革,否则我们就无法应对未来的挑战。”
        What is closer than full autonomy is the potential for trucks to drive themselves part of the time, assisted by humans.        比完全自主驾驶更接近现实的局面是,卡车在司机的辅助下在一部分时间自动驾驶。
        The current technology being tested is called platooning, which involves trucks from the same company synchronising their braking on motorways in order to drive far closer together than would be safe if they were reliant on human reaction times. Driving closer together reduces air resistance and allows for better fuel consumption.        目前正在测试的技术被称为“队列行驶”(platooning),它涉及同一家公司的卡车在公路上行驶时让刹车保持同步,以便车辆之间的距离比依靠人的反应所需的安全车距大大缩短。队列行驶时缩小车距有助于减少空气阻力,降低油耗。
        Human drivers are still required to control the trucks, however, for example when truck platoons travelling on highways have to separate at junctions.        不过,卡车仍需要人来控制,例如,当队列行驶的卡车在交叉路口必须分开行驶时。
        Several other barriers remain before trucks can shed their human drivers. One is agreement on the technology used in the trucks so they can “talk” to each other, which is particularly important given most hauliers have several brands of vehicle in a fleet.        在卡车完全摆脱司机之前,还有一些需要逾越的障碍。一是卡车所用技术的相容性,以便它们可以相互“交谈”,这一点尤其重要,因为大多数运输公司的车队中都包括多个品牌的车辆。
        Regulatory harmonisation between countries is also important so that trucks can pass smoothly across borders, says Erik Jonnaert, secretary-general of the European Automobile Manufacturers Association. “Otherwise we risk having a patchwork of rules and regulations, which could hinder manufacturers and road users from investing in automated vehicles.”        欧洲汽车制造商协会(ACEA)秘书长埃里克•乔纳特(Erik Jonnaert)说,各国之间的监管协调也很重要,这样自动驾驶卡车才能够顺利地跨越国界。 “否则,我们可能会面临规则和法规杂乱无章的局面,进而阻碍制造商和道路使用者投资于自动车辆。”
        Connected trucks face particular risks, however. “GPS-spoofing to re­direct trucks along with their freight is a very real threat for fleets using autonomous navigation systems,” says Philip Poulidis of BlackBerry Radar, a logistics management platform.        然而,网联的卡车面临特别的风险。物流管理平台黑莓雷达(BlackBerry Radar)的菲利普•普利帝斯(Philip Poulidis)说:“通过欺骗GPS让载有货物的卡车向其他方向行驶,是使用自主导航系统的车队所面临的一个非常真切的威胁。”
        Finally, the trailers pulled by cabs need significant changes before they can function autonomously. Trailers, which can be changed between different cabs, will have to be fitted with sensors that allow the lorry to “see” behind it and that can operate with the self-driving system of any given truckmaker.        最后,由卡车车头牵引的拖车需要进行重大改动,才能让它们实现自动化。可以由不同的车头牵引的拖车必须安装传感器,以便卡车能够“看到”后面,这些传感器要与任何卡车制造商的自动驾驶系统兼容。
        This, one industry executive says, could be the ultimate hurdle to clear in the technology’s eventual deployment. “If there are no sensors on the back, you would not want a truck driving itself,” the person says. “I do not think it would be safe.”        一位业内高管表示,这可能是自动驾驶技术最终投入使用前需要清除的最后障碍。“如果拖车尾部没有传感器,你不会希望让一辆卡车自动驾驶,”这名高管表示,“我认为这样不安全。”
                
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