Uber is beginning a pilot programme that will use smartphones to track the driving behaviour of its drivers. The goal here is to collect data in order to provide a better service and to keep tabs on drivers in the case of disputes or complaints.
The pilot programme will use a smartphone’s accelerometer, gyroscope, and GPS to monitor driving methods. These sensors allow Uber to track how fast a car is moving, how often it starts and stops, and get an idea of how hard their drivers like to break. This information will allow it to better deal with passengers who complain about bad drivers, and will be used in addition to calling both parties up to talk to them.
The data will also be used to better improve conditions for the driver. Uber will also be monitoring what their drivers do with their phones during a journey, and possibly try to address any difficulties they may encounter. For instance, the company may offer dashboard mounts if drivers keep moving their phones around during a journey.
Uber is also testing a less technologically advanced programme at the same time. Some Uber cars in North Carolina are being equipped with Bop It toys to distract drunk passengers. The idea is that the drunks will be focused on the ridiculous toy and will leave drivers free to focus on getting them to their destinations. It sounds like a good idea, although the ability of such a toy to entertain a drunk is entirely questionable.