Uber Uses Sensors In Drivers’ Phones To Track If They Are Speeding

If you complain to Uber about your driver taking you on a wildly circuitous route to your destination — thus resulting in a higher bill — you know the company can check that because you can see your car’s every turn being tracked in real time on the app. But Uber can also use the driver’s smartphone to see if they are driving recklessly.

In a new blog post, Uber’s Chief Security Officer Joe Sullivan writes about how the popular ridesharing service is using smartphone sensors to make sure drivers aren’t behaving badly.

“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,” writes Sullivan, who says that the data is used, not necessarily to put a leash on drivers, but to verify customer’s complaints about questionable driving.

“If a rider complains that a driver accelerated too fast and broke too hard, we can review that trip using data,” he explains. “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.”

He does say that Uber could use the data to remind drivers of their responsibility to obey speed limits. If the company notices that some drivers are making trips suspiciously faster than others, a friendly reminder could point out they should put a little less lead in their shoe.

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