Uber Applies For Patents To Spot Drunk Riders


San Francisco-based cab-hailing company Uber has applied for a patent to use artificial intelligence to determine how drunk potential passengers might be. 

The app used to summon rides could also feed other information to the driver, including a passenger’s location, how accurately they are typing and even the angle they are holding their phone at.

This could be helpful for drivers who do not want to pick up inebriated riders.

However, some are of the opinion that this could also be used to identify vulnerable passengers. 

ALSO READ: Uber To Pay $10 million Over Claims Of Unequal Payments To Women, Minority Engineers

According to the application to the US patent office, the system would spot “uncharacteristic user activity”.

It is important to note that Uber does not have the best track record when it comes to collecting data. 

In 2014 it was revealed the company used a software program known as God View to monitor real-time locations of customers and drivers.

That, coupled with a data breach that exposed personal data about more than 100,000 Uber drivers, made the company introduce tough measures to protect the privacy of drivers and customers.

Uber’s co-founder Travis Kalanick resigned in June 2017 over allegations of sexual harassment at the scandal-hit company.

News reports claim that more than 100 Uber drivers in the US 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 a statement, Uber said:

“We are always exploring ways that our technology can help improve the Uber experience for riders and drivers. We file patent applications on many ideas, but not all of them actually become products or features.” 

ALSO READ: India Loses USD 22 Billion a Year in Peak Traffic Hours in 4 Indian Cities: Uber