Uber Reveals It Monitors Its Drivers' Movements

Car hailing-service company Uber has acknowledged that it is currently monitoring selected drivers in Houston. It has been doing so since late 2015, in an attempt to flag up dangerous driving.
Uber Revealed It Monitors Its Drivers' Movements 1 photo
Photo: Uber
The company uses the data from a smartphone’s accelerometer, a movement sensor that most smartphones have, which can show when a driver accelerates or brakes too quickly, meaning whether he drives too close to the car in front or tailgating.

Uber has not explicitely told drivers that their movements are being tracked. The users are informed about this only when the company needs to access the data after a complaint.

This might also have a bright side because if a passenger complains that a driver was speeding when he wasn’t, data from the tracking program could exonerate the driver.

The idea of monitoring the drivers came from Joe Sullivan, a former Facebook executive, who, shortly after he joined Uber, took a ride in which the driver sped down US101, the main highway that connects San Francisco and Silicon Valley. Sullivan then realized that even if he gave the driver a poor rating, he couldn’t prove he did something wrong.

Apparently, this is not the only measure designed to gain more influence over the behavior of Uber drivers and passengers, as the company is currently running or planning several experiments. For example, it considers sending dashboard phone mounts to drivers accused of texting while driving.

Many drivers have joined a class-action lawsuit in an effort to be recognized as full employees entitled to benefits, so it’s a pretty risky move if Uber plans to monitor their behavior in these circumstances, as The Guardian reports.

Another San Francisco startup, called Zendrive, is already using this kind of telemetry and gathers tons of data just from monitoring how a smartphone moves. Location data can show if drivers are too quick to accelerate, too late to brake, regularly speed or are constantly changing lanes, which would suggest reckless driving.
If you liked the article, please follow us:  Google News icon Google News Youtube Instagram

Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories