Will Uber use artificial intelligence to identify drunk passengers?

Lloyd Doyle
June 13, 2018

Uber's algorithm will weigh a variety of factors from typos, how precisely a user clicks, walking speed and the time of day. Simply put, using machine learning, Uber would be able to know whether the person making the call for a trip is intoxicated or exhausted.

If irregularities such as typographical errors, amount of time spent to make the trip request, or the user's accuracy in pressing an interface element are detected, the system would warn the responding driver to be on his toes.

The app may change the pick-up or drop-off location to somewhere safer or more accessible. Being drunk is perhaps the most common instance in which a passenger may be in an altered state that results in "uncharacteristic" behaviors, but the patent also points toward tiredness as another possible issue.

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

"It would be cool if drivers got extra money for picking up drunk passengers".

"It could lead to the possibility of some drivers avoiding drunk passengers and in the worst cases 'drunk hunting". Ideally, this would give Uber drivers a heads-up so they can fully prepare to deal with a drunk passenger or pass on them entirely in favor of someone who is sober.

Ride-hailing services like Uber have transformed nightlife in car-centric cities, ditching the need for designated drivers and limiting intake of alcohol.

It is not clear if the firm is working on this technology and MailOnline has contacted the company for comment. "We file patent applications on many ideas, but not all of them actually become products or features".

In 2014, a survey conducted by Benenson Strategy Group found that 78 percent of people said that since Uber launched in their city, their friends are less likely to drive after drinking.

The authors of this patent application are current or former members of Uber's Trust & Safety team.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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