Uber, often the safest way home for drunk passengers, has filed for a patent that would allow technology enabling the company to tell in advance when a passenger is drunk based on a multitude of factors which would better prepare drivers for what to expect or allow them to not give a ride at all.
According to TechCrunch, Uber recently applied for a pretty unique patent: one that would allow for technology showing whether a passenger is drunk before the driver picks them up. The patent describes an amalgam of technology that measures just how far under the influence a passenger may be – looking at things like the angle of the phone screen requesting the ride, how accurately and quickly data is put into the app, where they are, how fast they’re walking and more.
The patent also dictates how that will affect passenger service. It’s possible a drunk passenger could receive a specially trained driver, or one who is getting paid a little bit extra, or the passenger could be refused a ride altogether, maybe from a driver who’s sick of people puking in their car. The downside is that Uber has routinely been one of the safest ways for drunk passengers to get home.
There are other potential downfalls as well. Over the past four years, 103 U.S.-based Uber drivers have been accused of sexual assault. The majority of the police reports show that the assaulted passengers were drunk most of the time. Having technology that points out drunk people could be a form of predation. Uber also hasn’t been the most trustworthy company, thanks to data breaches and spying on customers.