Artificial Intelligence: AI Cameras In Amazon Delivery Vehicles Unfairly Penalize Drivers

September 21, 2021 | Artificial Intelligence, News
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Amazon delivery drivers claim they lose money because the company’s AI surveillance unfairly blames them for unsafe driving.

Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) installed AI-powered cameras in its delivery fleet in February as an investment in safety technology across its operations. The company said at the time the system would provide drivers real-time alerts to help keep them safe on the road. A Los Angeles driver complained to Motherboard, however, that the camera penalized him whenever a car cut him off – a routine occurrence in traffic. (Motherboard)

Derek (anonymous), the driver, said the data is transmitted to Amazon for evaluation of his driving and eligibility for a bonus.

He claimed that at right-hand turns he would be usually cut off by a car – triggering a robotic shout from the camera. “It’s so disconcerting. It’s upsetting when I didn’t do anything,” Derek complains.

Other drivers and a delivery company owner debunked the company’s “safety” claims and said the Netradyne branded cameras regularly misjudged traffic “events” that were either outside drivers’ control or did not constitute unsafe driving.

These events, and others – including following another vehicle too closely, stop sign and street light violations and distracted driving – all get uploaded to a Netradyne interface accessible to Amazon and its delivery companies. The system collates this data to arrive at a weekly driving score that measures safe driving.

The scores could determine whether the driver gets a bonus, prizes, and extra pay. The drivers’ scores are further combined to arrive at a scorecard for the delivery company as a whole.

Incorrect events can potentially lower scores and deny the firm income it needs to pay for vehicle maintenance, consumables, support staff, and bonuses for drivers.

One delivery company sent the following message to its drivers, according to Motherboard:

“Good morning team: I just watched about 12 videos of someone here on the team with NO SEATBELT on,” the texts read. “This will damage my revenue and our scorecard for next week. Several thousands of dollars GONE. If you show up for any event on NETRADYNE, your incentive will be gone automatically.”

Accidents are down, claims the company

However, Alexandra Miller, a spokesperson for Amazon told Motherboard that accidents had decreased by 48 percent and stop sign and signal violations had declined 77 percent after the Netradyne cameras were installed in the delivery vehicles.

Related Story: Amazon Installs AI-Enabled Cameras In Delivery Vans

Image: Fleet Safety Camera by Netradyne

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