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A hot potato: Amazon has long faced criticism for pushing its drivers to complete up to 200 deliveries every day, which many claim is an unreasonable demand that can result in tired workers who take risks. Rather than reducing these intense schedules, the company has started using AI-equipped cameras to warn drivers if they’re breaking road rules or engaging in unsafe practices. The footage will also be used by Amazon for evaluation purposes.
The Information reports that the Driveri platform being installed in the vehicles is made by San Diego-based start-up Netradyne. Its cameras use four lenses that film the road, driver, and both sides of the van.
The cameras, which operate 100 percent of the time, don’t record audio and can’t be used to watch drivers in real-time. They feature artificial intelligence that identifies 16 signals based on what's happening around the van and a driver’s actions. Anything illegal, such as failing to stop or speeding, will trigger audio responses, including “No stop detected” and “Please slow down.” Unsafe driving such as braking too hard won't bring audio alerts but will see the footage uploaded to a secure portal for Amazon to examine.
Is picking one's nose classified as distracted driving?
Drivers will only be able to disable the cameras when the ignition is off, allowing them to enjoy breaks without the knowledge an AI is watching them. There’s also a button for recording footage that could prove useful—accidents, road rage, closed delivery locations, etc.
While the cameras don’t offer a live-feed, some signals can prompt Amazon to contact the drivers. CNBC reports that if one is caught yawning, the camera will instruct them to pull over for 15 minutes. If they don’t comply, probably because of all the drops that need to be completed, a driver’s DSP might call asking them to stop for a while.
The uploaded footage will also be used to investigate incidents such as driver collisions and package thefts.
“We are investing in safety across our operations and recently started rolling out industry leading camera-based safety technology across our delivery fleet,” Amazon spokesperson Deborah Bass told CNBC. “This technology will provide drivers real-time alerts to help them stay safe when they are on the road.”