Uber Using Smartphone Gyrometer Data To Monitor Speeding Drivers

We’ve all been in an Uber where the driver seems to be in a little bit more of a hurry than need be. Once you hop out of the Uber and complete the ride, you’re left with the app asking you how you’d rate your experience. This is generally a great opportunity to voice your concerns but when opinions are strong it’s important the company balances the drivers’ feedback as well in order to be fair to every party.

In order to get the lowdown, Uber announced today that it has been running a pilot program that uses drivers’ smartphone gyrometer data to gather information about rides. Whether it’s checking to see if the driver is checking his phone too much during the ride or it’s measuring how fast the driver is going, Uber believes that this move can help them assess which of their drivers are being rated fairly and which ones may be getting a bad rap.

In a blog post, Uber detailed the move:

If the rating is low, we ask why.  It might be that a driver is unhappy about an unruly rider.  Or a rider is worried that her driver was going too fast.  Either way, we need to check what actually happened.  Mostly it’s about talking to both sides.  But increasingly technology can help get to the truth.

Now, this obviously has applications a little bit more far-reaching than just talking about customer satisfaction. This is really allowing Uber to harness a greater deal of data to see how their drivers are operating their vehicles in different areas.

The company says there’s a pretty clear safety benefit to collecting this data, in that they can more easily identify drivers who fall outside the norm in terms of speeding. If the company can identify the average speed of their drivers in a certain area and then can cross check that with drivers who are going quite a bit faster and may have racked up some negative ratings, they’re much better equipped to keep a dialog open with their drivers and be more transparent when they ask them to make changes.

Speeding is serious stuff, and it’s important that Uber keeps their drivers in check even if they are independent contractors and the company isn’t paying their speeding tickets.