Patent filed by Uber for machine to tell if passengers are drunk

Patent filed by Uber for machine to tell if passengers are drunk

Uber wants to be able to tell you when you've had too many drinks.

Taxi app company Uber has applied for a patent to use artificial intelligence to determine how drunk potential passengers might be. Uber AI will plug in all these algorithms into its system to detect how high or drunk the passenger is and then change its services like drivers with a good amount of experience with drunk passengers will be matched with their rider or the rider can be asked to come to a well-lit pick-up point.

In a statement, the company told KTVU the idea is in the early stages and that it has no immediate plans to implement the system.

But critics said it could also be used to identify vulnerable passengers.

For example, the system may track how many typos appear in a new ride request, or the angle at which the rider holds a phone when hailing an Uber.

In theory, the system could generate an alert to drivers or match suspected drunk passengers only with specially trained drivers. "Similarly, when the likelihood is comparatively low (but not non-zero), the system may match the provider normally and provide a notification to the matched provider of the possible state". To some, the concept may be counterintuitive to why they choose to hail an Uber.

Simpson said he anxious that the technology wouldn't be able to differentiate drunkenness from other reasons a rider could have an unsteady hand. It would also consider the time of day and where a ride is requested. During the past four years, 103 Uber drivers have been accused of sexual assault and in numerous cases, police reports note the passengers were drunk.

Worse still, it could lead to more people trying to drive drunk.

But as for whether riders who have been drinking might be less inclined to use the service as a result, "that is something that the public will have to decide", Griffin said.

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