Heads up, Uber drivers: You better watch your speed, because the app-based car service has a new way to verify that you're driving safely.
Uber has been running a pilot program that uses smartphone data to verify rider feedback and catch potentially dangerous drivers. The company already asks passengers to rate their drivers after each ride — and vice versa — and talks to both parties if the rating is low. The only problem with this feedback method: people sometimes lie.
Now, if you complain that a driver accelerated too fast or broke too hard, the company can review that trip using data from the driver's smartphone sensors.
"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," the company explained. "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 said that it also hopes to use this technology to proactively improve safety in the future. If, for instance, the gyrometer data shows that a driver is constantly moving his or her phone around, the company may offer them a mount 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," Uber said. "For drivers who go much faster on that stretch, we can ask them to curb their enthusiasm."