- Too drunk.to get into an Uber?
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. If not, drivers are alerted so they can reject potentially troublesome passengers. Some riders may not be able to get service at all. The app's ability to predict user behaviour could also be used by Uber drivers to detect user's vulnerability.
Based on how the system interprets that behavior, the company may adjust how it arranges a match with a driver, according to the patent application.
"Some examples of trip variations include matching the user with only certain [drivers], alerting a [driver] about the user's possible unusual state, and modifying pickup or drop-off locations to areas that are well lit and easy to access", the application said. 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.
It's still unclear how the patent, if approved, would be applied, and whether Uber would make use of it at all.
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. For example, a rider who has Parkinson's or a hand tremor might be recognized by the app as being drunk.
The app used to summon rides could also feed other information to the driver, including a passenger's location, how accurately they are typing and even the angle they are holding their phone at.
Ride-sharing company Uber is exploring ways to identify drunk passengers, with an eye on protecting drivers from unruly customers, CNN reported June 7. Some privacy experts question whether the information gathered could end up being stored to track health and lifestyle choices of Uber customers.