Uber submits patent to detect drunken app users

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The user's current state is also determined by this system based on how they handle their smartphone.

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.

"Predicting user state using machine learning", is how the company succinctly describes their latest technological endeavour.

The ridesharing company has filed a patent to use artificial intelligence to identify how drunk a passenger is before picking them up.

Uber has partnered with organizations including Mothers Against Drunk Driving to encourage more people to call the service than to get behind the wheel after drinking too much. Ideally, this would give Uber drivers a heads-up so they can fully prepare to deal with a drunk passenger or pass on them entirely in favor of someone who is sober.

However, a close look indicates that "what Uber is really interested in is detecting the difference between users of sound mind and users who are under the influence", says TechCrunch.

As such, and we're spit-balling ideas here, the driver could refuse to pick up a drunk passenger opting to go after teetotallers instead. Furthermore, it could prevent the user from joining a trip with other riders, for example with Uber Pool. However it seems that Uber could be trying to take the guesswork out of the equation.

According to Uber, knowing whether a rider is drunk or exhausted could help prevent issues with a trip. According to a recent CNN investigation, at least 103 Uber drivers have been accused of sexually assaulting or abusing passengers in just the past four years.