Jun 11, 2018, 5:30 PM ET

Uber submits patent to detect drunken app users

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Uber has submitted a patent to add a feature to its app that will help identify drunken riders so drivers could better assist them.

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The new feature, at least in theory, would allow the popular ride-sharing service to measure a potential rider's walking speed, data input speed and accuracy, and the angle at which one's device is being held.

Drivers may receive a notification that the person requesting the ride could be intoxicated, which also could result in more experienced drivers being routed to help riders who could present a problem for someone less experienced.

PHOTO: A man drinks a pint of beer in this undated stock photo.STOCK PHOTO/Getty Images
A man drinks a pint of beer in this undated stock photo.

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.

In 2014, a survey conducted by Benenson Strategy Group found that 78 percent of people said that since Uber launched in their city, their friends are less likely to drive after drinking.

It's still too early to tell how this new feature would be implemented, or the eventuality of adding it to its current services, an Uber spokesperson told ABC News.

"We are always exploring ways that our technology can help improve the Uber experience for riders and drivers," the spokesperson said. "We file patent applications on many ideas, but not all of them actually become products or features."

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  • TexasVulcan

    I take Uber often to get to and back from restaurants and bars. It's been a boon for me. I am not sure they need to know if I am really drunk or not. I have never gotten into an Uber when I was passed out / throwing up drunk. And I can see where they'd want to avoid those kind of passengers.

  • Lifeishortgetaladder.

    profiling! in an app--- nice. If a cop sees you walking funny and asks you whats up you get offended,,
    Uber tracks the phone movements and position and says your're drunk... thats OK.

  • Carl Honduras

    uber paid madd over 2 million Dollars to falsely claim that rideshares were lowering the rate of drunk driving and now they want to pre discriminate against intoxicated riders because just like taxi companies, they are losing money on them. The biometrics they indicate for this app would deem anyone with paulsey, limited vision, blindness and several other minor and major medical conditions as "intoxicated". Thus giving uber yet another means of violating the ada.

  • Lilium Inter Spinas

    What about women that don't want their Uber driver (who probably hasn't been through even a cursory background check) to know they've been drinking? Won't this ALSO make it easier for sexual predators to more carefully "screen" their potential victims?

  • Jim Botto

    A wise Uber driver once told me, "Always take a customer to the bar, never pick up a customer from the bar"

  • Rug Ratz

    I thought most of the passengers Uber picks up are drunk? Isn't that a good reason for them not to drive anywhere personally?

  • SSiderSense

    Sure, good idea, now the drivers will know who NOT to pick up.

  • Prophet With Honor

    My data input speed on a phone is pathetic even when sober, I'm 70 and owing to several surgeries walking speed is erratic and my left wrist holds my phone at odd angles.

    This would read me as drunk every time.

  • gs12

    If it works, that would allow alcohol related target advertising.

  • tatanka

    Uber drivers will want a premium for picking up drunk riders.