Uber could soon help drivers avoid drunk passengers

Uber may soon be able to work out how drunk you are and relay this information to drivers, who could then refuse your request for a ride.

The company has filed a patent, first spotted by CNN, which describes a “travel coordination system” that would use machine-learning to determine what sort of state you’re in, by analysing the way you use your phone.

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The app would take into account things like text input, interface interaction, and even the way you hold your phone.

As the patent explains: “For example, text input characteristics may include the number of typographical errors entered by a user or the number of characters erased by a user while entering a search query.

“Examples of interface interaction characteristics include the amount of time for a user to interact with the user interface after new information (or a modified display) is shown to the user, or the user’s accuracy in pressing an interface element on the device.

“Example device handling characteristics include the angle at which the user is holding the device, movement of the device during the request entry, or a user’s travel speed.”

If an Uber driver fancies a quiet, vomit-free night, the system could make it easier for them to hand-pick customers based on how sober they seem.

There’s an interesting safety angle too, with the patent suggesting that the system could pair inebriated customers with any nearby drivers who have the expertise to cope with them.

“Incidents, such as safety incidents and personal conflict incidents, can occasionally occur when users and/or providers behave uncharacteristically. Although rare, such safety incidents can negatively impact the transport experience for the user and/or the provider.

The patent adds: “It is desirable to minimize impact of such safety incidents in travel coordination systems.”

Do you think the system sounds like a sensible idea, or is it creepy? Share your thoughts @TrustedReviews.