【世界公民】Uber 與 NASA 簽約,合作開發空中計程車

美國叫車服務公司 Uber 宣布與 NASA 簽約,合作研發空中計程車,計畫 2020 年之前在洛杉磯進行測試、2023 年推出空中計程車服務。本文用中英對照的方式幫助大家了解這樁合作背後的發想過程。
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Photo credit: Uber
Photo credit: Uber
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美國叫車服務公司 Uber 宣布與 NASA 簽約,合作研發空中計程車,計畫 2020 年之前在洛杉磯進行測試、2023 年推出空中計程車服務。進入本文前請想一想,這些單字英文怎麼說: (A) 致敬 (B) 預想 (C) 監管的

Uber might still be years away from a workable self-driving car business, but the company is already (1) inking deals for a flying taxi business. According to Vice News, "The (A) ride-hailing giant on Wednesday announced ‘a Space Act Agreement' with NASA, where the government agency will collaborate on the uberAIR program --- an initiative to develop a transit network of all-electric unmanned aerial vehicles that use vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) technology." 
Uber 的自動駕駛車業務或許還需要幾年時間發展,但它已著手為空中計程車業務簽定合約。根據 Vice News,「這間向乘車致敬的業界巨頭,周三 (11/8) 宣布與 NASA(美國國家航空暨太空總署)簽定『空中計程車』協議,合作進行 Uber 空中計畫,發展使用垂直起降技術、全電子化、無人駕駛的空中運輸網路。」 

Uber's goal is to have a flying taxi service up and running in Los Angeles before the 2028 Olympics. As TechCrunch notes, "Uber has inked an agreement with Los Angeles' Sandstone Properties to develop roof-top take-off and landing terminals in the city.""The company is not intending to build any flying taxis itself but has previously announced partnerships with five aircraft manufacturers to lead the development and manufacturing of the necessary VTOL aircraft. 
Uber 的目標是在 2028 奧運前,在洛杉磯開始載客服務,Tech Crunch 報導,「Uber 已與洛杉磯 Sandstone 地產公司簽約,開發市內的屋頂起降點。」「公司不打算自行打造空中計程車,但先前已宣布與五家飛機製 造商合作、開發、生產所需的垂直起降飛機。」

The Verge reports that "The kind of aircraft Uber (B) envisions shuttling passengers from rooftop to rooftop --- electric, autonomous, with the ability to take off and land vertically --- doesn't exist yet, nor does the infrastructure to support such a vehicle. Experts suggest that engineering and (C) regulatory hindrances will likely prevent flying cars from ever taking off in a meaningful way." 
科技媒體 The Verge 則報導,「Uber 預想可在樓頂之間 運送乘客的飛機,電子化、無人駕駛、可垂直起降,這樣的飛機本身、支援的相關建設都還不存在。專家認為,空中計程車很可能因為工程及監管方面的障礙,無法起飛。」

It doesn't mean flying cars aren't (2) having a moment. Manufacturers like Boeing and Airbus are developing flying-car plans. Vice News also reports Larry Page, the co-founder of Google, has put at least US$100 million into flying car startups, and one of the companies Page has backed promises to have a commercially viable car available for sale by the end of 2017. 
這並不代表空中車輛不熱門。波音和空中巴士等製造 商都在研發空中車輛計畫。Vice News 也報導 Google 共同創辦人賴瑞佩吉,已在空中汽車相關的新創公司投入至少一億美金,其中一間佩吉資助的公司承 諾,2017 年底推出可商業化的車輛。 

One thing that might (3) give Uber an edge: The company hired VTOL expert and ex-NASA engineer Mike Moore earlier this year. And at the very least, Uber might be feeling pressure to look to the skies given all the trouble it has had on the ground in 2017." 
Uber 佔優勢的一點,可能是今年稍早聘用了前垂直起降專家、也是 NASA 工程師的麥克摩爾。而最起碼的原因是,2017 在地面上經歷的種種麻煩,使得 Uber 有了必須向空中發展的壓力。

1. Ink deals 簽署協議 

The two sides inked deals on boosting joint-crime fighting.

雙方簽署協議,聯合打擊犯罪。

2. Have a moment 熱門、正當紅 

Long skirts are having a moment. 長裙正當紅。

3. Give someone an edge 使…佔優勢 

Buying some of 21st Century Fox businesses could give Disney an edge in the streaming wars. 迪士尼如購入部分 21 世紀福斯企業,可能在影音串流大戰中取得一些優勢。

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