Uber spying app could get you rejected for being drunk

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- Too drunk.to get into an Uber?

The ride-hailing service has an application pending before the US Patent and Trademark Office that would tap artificial intelligence to separate sober passengers from drunk ones.

Others point out the implementation of the technology could clash with Uber's business model, as many riders use the service to avoid getting behind the wheel after drinking. The idea is still in its early stages, and the company has no immediate plans to start using the technology as described in the application. 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, it may adjust how it arranges a match with a driver, the application said. For instance, a user can get matched with a specific driver, the driver can get an alert about the possible state of the passenger and alternate pick up and drop off locations can even be suggested.

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"We file patent applications on many ideas, but not all of them actually become products or features".

It's still unclear how the patent, if approved, would be applied, and whether Uber would make use of it at all. To some, the concept may be counterintuitive to why they choose to hail an Uber. For example, a rider who has Parkinson's or a hand tremor might be recognized by the app as being drunk.

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.

Ride-sharing company Uber is exploring ways to identify drunk passengers, with an eye on protecting drivers from unruly customers, CNN reported June 7. Uber has come under fire before for its misuse of customer data, which included Uber employees being able to track the location of ex-partners over a centralised "God View" tool.

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