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Uber to monitor drivers through sensors in their smartphones

Taxi-hailing app provider Uber, which has a growing presence in India, plans to monitor its drivers through sensors embedded in their phones to ensure they are driving safely.

The company has launched a pilot programme in the US to verify passenger feedback using smartphone technology.  According to Joe Sullivan, chief security officer, Uber, 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.

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

The company hopes to use the technology to improve safety proactively. “For example, if gyrometer data shows that drivers are constantly moving their phones around, we can offer them mounts to fix the problem,” said Sullivan. 

And to keep drunk passengers entertained, so that they do not distract their driver, Uber has started deploying Bop It, a noisy children’s game around a plastic toy, to engage the passenger.