Drunk? Uber can tell by way you hold phone

13 June, 2018, 23:13 | Author: Regina Silva
  • Uber is working on AI to identify drunk passengers

What do you do when you've had a few too many Bud heavies at happy hour?

Uber is working to detect if the person requesting a ride is drunk before the driver gets there, according to this patent. The system relies on an algorithm to weigh a variety of factors, including typos, how precisely a user clicks on links and buttons, walking speed, and how long it takes to request a ride.

A rider's sobriety level will then result in the kind of ride they get.

"The user behaviour may be compared against the user's prior behaviour to determine differences in the user behaviour for this request and normal behaviour of prior requests", the patent reads. Based on the patent, the system appears to be one that depends on past user data to predict future behaviors.

The app may change the pick-up or drop-off location to somewhere safer or more accessible. A driver set to pick up a particularly tipsy passenger might get a notification on their phone beforehand, or they could be told to meet the rider at the designated location a bit later to give the person more time to get to the vehicle before driving off.

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However, experts fear it may allow drivers to undertake "drunk hunting".

It is not known if the info will be used to deter drivers from picking up such passengers in order to sidestep potential trouble.

It's not yet clear how advanced the research on this technology is or how accurate it would be.

As per a patent filed by Uber this month and unearthed by The Telegraph, the company plans a very Orwellian approach to the matter. The application filed in the Bureau of patents and USA trademark.

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