Uber Is Using Smartphone Data to Keep a Closer Eye on Drivers

GPS and gyrometer metrics help verify user feedback.

Ever experienced an Uber driver with a reckless driving style? The ride-sharing app is planning to keep better tabs on its drivers with a new program that uses smartphone gyrometers and GPS sensors to better track speed and other driving habits during Uber trips. The idea is that better driving data will help Uber verify user feedback and ultimately improve safety.

Uber notes a couple of different examples in which gyrometer and GPS data can help both riders and drivers by verifying user reports. If riders report reckless driving, Uber could then check the car's average speeds and stops and starts before talking to the Uber driver about changing his or her driving style. Alternatively, this system could give the driver the benefit of the doubt; if the data shows that the driver was not actually driving erratically, a rider's negative review could then be discounted and the driver's rating would not be affected.

On a smaller scale, gyrometer movements could show if the driver is moving his or her phone around while driving, in which case Uber would offer a phone mount for the car to keep the smartphone in place. This data-tracking initiative is just a pilot program right now, so it doesn't affect all Uber drivers just yet. We wouldn't be surprised to see this system expand in the future, because it seems like a logical way to keep better tabs on Uber trips and curb unwanted driving practices.

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