Uber-owned taxi service is going to facial recognition to keep tired drivers from taking on rides

Uber owned Yandex Taxi ride hailing service will use facial recognition to keep tired drivers from booking more ridesWikipedia

  • Uber-owned taxi service, Yandex.Taxi, is going to equip its taxis with facial recognition technology.
  • The facial recognition software will will watch for signs of fatigue and keep drivers from taking on rides if they’re exhausted.
  • The company is employing facial recognition to reduce the number of road accidents due to tired taxi drivers.
It’s not uncommon to hear stories of taxi drivers taking on extra shifts to make a little more money. But, it also makes them sleepy while they are behind the wheel, multiplying risks.

Yandex.Taxi, the largest taxi service in Russia that merged with Uber last year, doesn’t want tired drivers behind the wheel. So it’s going to use facial recognition to keep drivers from taking on rides if they’re exhausted.

The facial recognition technology is going to watch for signs of exhaustion — like blinking, yawning and slumped posture — using a total of 68 facial points, according to Bloomberg.
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Yandex has already tested the technology by mounting the device on a 100 cars in Moscow and has plans to expand it to several thousand cars in its fleet.

Impetus on risk

Accidents that involve taxis have surged by 25% in Moscow last year.

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The Russian capital saw a total of 764 car accidents in 2018 resulting in a total of 23 deaths — and Russian legislators are pointing the finger that taxi companies.

There’s already a draft law on the table that puts the Russian government in charge of monitoring taxi apps like Yandex and Uber to boost safety.

While this may keep taxi drivers for taking on more rides using Uber and Yandex, there are still other taxi services that will allow them to be on call — like Gett, Taxi Saturn and Taxi Maxim.

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Lessons for India

In India, the situation isn’t too different with taxis accounting for nearly 60% of the traffic on roads. In 2018, as many as 149,00 people died due to road accidents as many as 465,000 accidents were reported.

On a global scale, India accounts for 11% of all global road accident deaths.

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Having regulations in place to curb sleepy drivers on the road could help India achieve its target of cutting road fatalities in half by 2020, as per the Brasilia declaration.

“Ola, Uber and private cab drivers, in order to extra money, accept rides at night too, after putting in a hard day at work. As they are sleepy, they fail to pay attention to the road, thus causing accidents,” P Harishekaran, Additional Commissioner (Traffic) in Bengaluru told the New Indian Express.

Most drivers are working 18-hour shifts to reach targets and hone in on incentives offered by the companies. And, even that isn’t going too well with earnings taking a dip as more people sign up to a part of the ride hailing gig economy.

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