Uber aims to identify drunk passengers

Uber wants a patent on tech to help guess if a rider is drunk

What about plugging typos into a pickup or drop off address?

This is why Uber now wants to know how drunk or high you are before taking a ride so that it can accordingly take a call. The app's ability to predict user behaviour could also be used by Uber drivers to detect user's vulnerability.

In theory, the system could generate an alert to drivers or match suspected drunk passengers only with specially trained drivers.

"We file patent applications on many ideas, but not all of them actually become products or features". This can then be matched with the user's location and the time - near a nightclub and in the early hours, for example. And while the data could help drivers cater to user needs - maybe with a pre-reclined seat, or a helpfully placed bucket - it could also pave the way for further breaches of trust. And when the likelihood is comparatively low, the system may match riders "normally". But the patent application alone raised questions of its potential shortcomings and dangers.


While Uber is attempting to rehabilitate its public image, users may be wary of an algorithm that can tell how many cocktails they've downed on a night out.

Simpson said he anxious that the technology wouldn't be able to differentiate drunkenness from other reasons a rider could have an unsteady hand.

Drivers may receive a notification that the person requesting the ride could be intoxicated, which also could result in more experienced drivers being routed to help riders who could present a problem for someone less experienced.

Professor Andre Spicer of Cass Business School in London told the Daily Telegraph: "This opens up the opportunity for drivers to identify drunk passengers and potentially take advantage". Griffin said that one of the best measures against drunk driving is expanding the options for how to get people home safely. "And Uber will have to be very careful in how they collect and what they plan on doing with that data".

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