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Uber will soon be able to tell when a rider is drunk

Uber wants to patent an AI-powered system that can track erratic behavior in a rider.

  • Published: June 11, 2018 4:43 PM IST

While drink and drive is a strict no, riding with a drunk co-passenger is no picnic either. Uber is said to be working on an Artificial Intelligence-powered system to pick out such inebriated passengers, and take steps accordingly.

Uber has filed a patent (spotted by CNN) for a system that uses AI to identify drunk passengers. The system essentially monitors how the potential rider is using the app to identify erratic behavior. The app will track the speed of typing, the number of typos, how the rider is clicking buttons, and their walking speed among others to check for their sober state. Certain aspects like a location filled with pubs or how the rider types the location will no doubt raise a few flags in the system.

A rider’s sobriety level will then result in the kind of ride they get. A particularly drunk rider is likely to be paired with drivers who are experienced and trained in handling people in inebriated state. Such riders are also unlikely to find a Uber pool ride.

While an interesting solution, there is also a potential negative side to this. The system is said to inform drivers beforehand if the next rider is drunk. This could lead to certain drivers deliberately targeting such people. There is no dearth in cases involving drivers taking advantage of late nights and inebriated passengers to assault them.

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Just how Uber takes steps to avoid this scenario is anyone’s guess. That said, this is just a patent application, and the system will undoubtedly undergo plenty of checks before it is rolled out to the drivers.

  • Published Date: June 11, 2018 4:43 PM IST