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Uber leverages smartphone sensors for driver behaviour management

Published: January 28, 2016 |San Fransisco, CA

Uber is running a pilot program to verify feedback from riders about driver behaviour and also the overall experience of their journey using smartphone technology.

For example, if gyrometer data shows that drivers are constantly moving their phones around, we can offer them mounts to fix the problem.  Or we could use technology to determine that the average South Florida Uber driver goes 50MPH and takes 50 minutes to drive from Miami to Fort Lauderdale. For drivers who go much faster on that stretch, we can ask them to curb their enthusiasm.

With the proliferation of smartphones in the last few years, gathering specific, contextual telematics data in mass scale has become possible for the very first time.Using the accelerometers, gyroscopes, and other smartphone sensors to this end can be extremely difficult (there are thousands of phone models) and requires deep expertise in signal processing and machine learning.

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However, with the right algorithms, it is now possible to gather information on things such as cell phone use, speed, swerves, hard stops, fast accelerations, as well as weather, trip duration, time of day, and more – all without relying on built-in hardware. The right tech can now accumulate massive amounts of data—and insurers, fleets and city planners can make use of those different data points to help reshape transportation.

There are two other important areas that are crucial to turning data into actionable driving insights. Data analysis is the second essential key, and one that traditional insurers and telematics incumbents just don’t seem to do very well in. This is probably because it requires the kind of hardcore machine learning and big data capabilities that were built in Silicon Valley to launch and scale cutting edge technologies that most insurance incumbents simply aren’t familiar with.

The third key is finding the right path to turn those insights into actionable advice. It’s those highly detailed tips delivered to the right driver or right fleet manager at the right time that can have the biggest impact.

Source: Uber

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