"How's my driving?" Oh please, Uber already knows. The company doesn't need for you to call a number listed on an old-fashioned bumper sticker to tell them that one of their drivers is gong too fast, braking too hard, or even playing with their phone. In news picked up by TechCrunch, the company announced that it's been turning to sensors in drivers' phones to figure that all out as part of a new pilot program.
Gyrometers in phones can measure small movements, while GPS and accelerometers show how often a vehicle starts and stops, as well as its overall speed. If a rider complains that a driver accelerated too fast and broke too hard, we can review that trip using data. If the feedback is accurate, then we can get in touch with the driver. And if it’s not, we could use the information to make sure a driver’s rating isn’t affected.
TechCrunch speculates that Uber might be able to use the data for purposes beyond safety. "This is really allowing Uber to harness a greater deal of data to see how their drivers are operating their vehicles in different areas," they write.
Uber says it can use the data not just to fault drivers, but to improve them. "If gyrometer data shows that drivers are constantly moving their phones around, we can offer them mounts to fix the problem," one suggestion goes. "Or we could use technology to determine that the average South Florida Uber driver goes 50MPH and takes 50 minutes to drive from Miami to Fort Lauderdale. For drivers who go much faster on that stretch, we can ask them to curb their enthusiasm."
Good one, guys. By the way, what kind of data were you getting from your drivers who were staging a protest at your headquarters yesterday? Can you tell from their phones that they're honking, or do you just hear it?