Tech,

Uber Wants to Know if You’re Wasted (or Not)

June 13, 2018

uber app

You had a bad day. You go and slam a few Mich Ultras at the bar with your broheims like those millenniums in the commercials. And, like a responsible person does, you call an Uber to get home safely.

Unfortunately, if you’re on Uber Pool and you weren’t out drinking with your pals, taking a ride home with a wasted brah might not be your idea of fun. Besides the loud talking, lousy singing, and possibly vomit, there’s also an increased risk of a sexual assault incident,

Uber wants to head that off at the pass. According to a new patent filing, the rideshare service is working on a plan to detect whether a ride customer is hammered or not before they climb into the car.

The system, described by members of Uber’s Trust & Safety team in 2016, tracks app usage via AI. The patent application describes a system that learns how you typically use the Uber app, so that it can identify unusual behavior. Things like: if they commit typos, how precisely a user clicks on links and buttons, their walking speed, and the rate at which they drop their phone. Factors like these are plugged into Uber’s planned algorithm, along with details about when and where the ride was requested. A late-night Uber call or one that’s from an area loaded with bars, would tip the system off about a rider’s sobriety differently than a daytime call from the suburbs.

Sobriety levels might only match with drivers who are trained or experienced with handling people in this state, or the rider might be prevented from joining a carpool.

For Uber drivers, dealing with drunk passengers is a drawback of the job.

It would be cool if drivers got extra money for picking up drunk passengers. It’s not a big deal, but it definitely gets old after about the 25th time,” Harry Campbell, author of The RideShare Guy blog, told CNN Money.

It all sounds great – but as The Verge pointed out, rejecting rides for Drunky McFratboy might put him in the dangerous position of trying to drive himself home.

The patent is just concept right now, so the idea could change significantly by the time it goes live. Until then, prepare for some possible backseat karaoke when taking Uber Pool.

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