Artificial Intelligence: Amazon Installs AI-Enabled Cameras In Delivery Vans

February 4, 2021 | Artificial Intelligence, News
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Their purpose is safety, according to Amazon. However, drivers have issues with privacy.

Ecommerce giant Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) has installed cameras with AI capabilities in delivery vehicles, according to CNBC. The company is using the cameras, at some of its delivery service partners (DSPs), to improve the safety of the drivers.

Watchers watching the drivers

The cameras, dubbed Driveri, are manufactured by San Diego-based startup Netradyne. Each camera has four lenses that capture the driver, the road, and both sides of the vehicle. The device records the entire time the vehicle is on the delivery route.

“We are investing in safety across our operations and recently started rolling out industry-leading camera-based safety technology across our delivery fleet,” said Deborah Bass, an Amazon spokesperson, in a statement. “This technology will provide drivers real-time alerts to help them stay safe when they are on the road.”

However, Amazon’s delivery partners have often been in the news for the wrong reasons. BuzzFeed reported in August 2019 that a driver at Inpax Shipping Solutions, an Amazon DSP, was charged with reckless homicide after his three-ton van crashed into an 84-year-old grandmother.

Meanwhile, the AI software backing up the cameras can detect 16 different safety issues. These include distracted driving, speeding, ignoring a stop sign, hard braking, and not wearing a seat belt. An instructional video says the cameras can also issue an audio alert, for instance, telling the driver to “please slow down,” or “maintain a safe distance.”

Again, if a driver is yawning, the camera will tell him to pull over for at least 15 minutes. If the driver doesn’t obey that instruction, the DSP might get an alert. They could call the driver and asked him to stop.

The camera can also upload its footage to a “secure portal” in case it detects unsafe driving behavior. This footage is accessible by Amazon and the DSP.

Privacy concerns

Drivers claim the cameras are a punishment system and “unnerving.” They also describe the surveillance system as “Big Brother.”

Moreover, the presence of the cameras would add to the already substantial pressures that drivers face while delivering hundreds of packages every day.

Amazon has made clear that it could use the footage from the cameras for employment decisions, including disciplinary actions, for safety violations by the driver.

Related Story:  Dubai Authorities Using AI To Keep Tabs on Cabbies

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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