Uber Will Start Tracking Driver Behavior Through Its App

Image courtesy of Uber

The next time your Uber driver takes a turn too fast or slams the brakes at the last second, Uber will know. The company says driver behavior will start to be tracked through its app soon.

Uber is rolling out new software on its app for drivers in dozens of cities for a test phase this week, which uses sensors in drivers’ phones to report back to the mothership, the company announced.

Starting Friday, drivers in at least nine U.S. cities including New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago will see a summary of how their driving was for each trip, with separate scores for acceleration and braking, and a map that shows where each incident was logged, The Wall Street Journal reports. If a driver goes over the speed limit, Uber will alert them via the app in real time.

Uber’s also testing technology that uses the gyroscope inside drivers’ phones to detect when they’re moving or touching the device, perhaps to text or perform other distracting actions. That’s happening in test cities separate from the app that tracks driving behavior.

Using this tech could provide more feedback for drivers when a customer rates them poorly, which is why Uber says it’s collecting such data — so drivers can be better at their jobs. The company says that while tests are ongoing, drivers won’t face any negative consequences for low scores. In the future, that might change.

As for privacy concerns over Uber scooping up all this data, the company says all drivers consent to the company using their smartphones to track them when they agree to the terms of service to become a driver.

Specifically, the contract says Uber “may monitor, track and share with third parties driver’s geolocation” for safety and security.

This kind of tech, known as telematics, has exist to track the safety of drivers in commercial fleets for decades, WSJ points out, mostly in the trucking industry.

Will Uber’s rivals follow it into the realm of telematics? Maybe, though Lyft already had talks with tech companies in the field and decided the software was too undeveloped to roll out to thousands of drivers, Chris Lambert, the company’s chief technology officer told the WSJ in January.

“There is a lot of work to be done to make the technology perfect in terms of identifying the events and determining what accurately leads to safer drivers,” he said.

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