Uber to get a patent to identify drunk passengers

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The premise of the software is to use a learned algorithm to determine a user's state of inebriation.

To do this, the system would track how you normally use the Uber app - including your speed of typing, number of typos, how you tap the buttons, and the way the phone is being held. It also calculates the time the rider has interacted with the Uber app.

Uber has submitted an application to patent an artificial intelligence technology that identifies drunk passengers.

That behavior would be weighed against how that particular customer usually uses the app. By user's state, it means Uber would be able to identify if you're drunk and how far from your normal state.

It's unclear if drivers will be given this information assuming the patent is granted, but it stands to reason they will, in order to better serve the riders and understand who their passengers are.

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If there are no drivers with expertise in such matters available, the drunk passengers could be denied service.

According to the site, there have been over 100 cases of abuse and assault by Uber drivers in the past four years - and in many of these cases, passengers were drunk.

Uber is often used by British merrymakers after Friday post-work drinks or a Saturday night of revelry, so the company could potentially alienate a solid customer base, if indeed its patent plans lead to a drunk-sniffing system. Uber's decision to introduce a tech-savvy app comes following the incidents where nearly 103 drivers have been accused of sexually harassing passengers in the past couple of years.

According to Uber, knowing whether a rider is drunk or exhausted could help prevent issues with a trip. The system could also pair riders with drivers who are experienced to handle them.

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