Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Uber will use smartphone sensors to detect hasty drivers

Uber depends on the quality of its drivers to keep its image and reputation, and now wants to tap into their smartphones' sensors to figure out if they're driving in an appropriate manner.

Since the beginning, customers have been able to rate Uber drivers, which is an excellent way to achieve that goal - though there's also the chance that a driver may be unjustly penalized by a problematic customer. In those cases, nothing like having the maximum amount of data to figure out what might have happened, and that why Uber wants to use the smartphones' sensor to gather added information about the ride.

With the GPS, Uber can already know if a driver is speeding (or taking too long) comparing data from multiple drivers for the same route, but speed alone isn't enough to get a complete picture. Maybe a driver is driving slight over the speed limit but is driving pleasantly and smoothly; maybe another is driving at the average speed but with strong accelerations and jumping on the breaks. With the added data, Uber can detect such scenarios and take the appropriate action - and it goes as far as using this data to detect if a driver may be handling the smartphone while driving, and suggest they get an adequate stand to provide a safer driving experience.

This would be mostly beneficial in countries like the USA, where "anyone" can become a driver and requires a stricter quality control; as in Portugal Uber is subcontracting other companies with professional licensed drivers which guarantee that same "quality level" right from the start (even so, there would be no harm in having every driver monitored... and I would go as far as add such thing to every single driver on the road, not just Uber drivers). Want to drive "as you wish"? Head to a private track and do whatever you want without endangering other peoples' lives.

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