Uber has announced that it is considering developing self-driving cars that monitor passengers’ vital signs by asking the passengers how they feel during the ride, in order to provide a stress-free and satisfying trip. This concept was outlined in a patent filed by the company in July 2019. Uber envisions passengers connecting their own health-monitoring devices (e.g., smart watches, activity trackers, heart monitors, etc.) to the vehicle to measure the passenger’s reactions. The vehicle would then synthesize the information, along with other measurements that are taken by the car itself (e.g., thermometers, vehicle speed sensors, driving logs, infrared cameras, microphones, etc.). This type of biometric monitoring could potentially allow the vehicle to assess whether it might be going too fast, getting too close to another vehicle on the road, or applying the brakes too hard. The goal is to use artificial intelligence to create a more ‘satisfying’ experience for the riders in the autonomous vehicle.
This proposed technology presents yet another way that ride-sharing companies such as Uber can collect more data from their passengers. Of course, passengers would have the choice about whether to use this feature, but this is another consideration for passengers in this data-driven industry.