Uber wants to know how drunk its passengers are

14 Juin, 2018, 09:09 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • Uber has filed a patent application to develop technology that can help determine whether or not a rider is drunk

To some, the concept may be counterintuitive to why they choose to hail an Uber. The information could then be used to determine what type, if any service to provide.

CNN reported that more than 100 Uber drivers in the U.S. had been accused of sexually assaulting or abusing passengers in the past four years, with 31 drivers convicted of crimes including false imprisonment and rape.

In many of these cases, the passengers were inebriated or drinking before taking the cab.

A patent application first spotted by CNN reveals that the ride-sharing may be working on an AI technology that automatically detects the state of the app user, if he or she is high or sober, before getting into the vehicle.

The system uses artificial intelligence (AI) to assess variety of factors such as walking speed, typos, precision of clicking on links and/or buttons and the amount of time taken to request a ride, a report by CNN suggests.

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Based on how the system interprets that behavior, it may adjust how it arranges a match with a driver, the application said.

The technology, of course, does not 100 per cent confirm that the rider is drunk but the technology could work if there's even a slight chance of drunk passenger and warn the driver.

The application also notes that "when the likelihood is comparatively very high" that a rider is acting out of the ordinary, that rider may not be matched with any driver, or may only be matched with drivers "with experience or training with users having an unusual state". The idea is still in its early stages, and the company has no immediate plans to start using the technology as described in the application. "Similarly, when the likelihood is comparatively low (but not non-zero), the system may match the provider normally and provide a notification to the matched provider of the possible state".

"We are always exploring ways that our technology can help improve the Uber experience for riders and drivers", a spokesperson said. Uber has come under fire before for its misuse of customer data, which included Uber employees being able to track the location of ex-partners over a centralised "God View" tool.

"We file patent applications on many ideas, but not all of them actually become products or features".

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