Amazon is installing AI-powered cameras in delivery vans to keep tabs on its drivers in the UK.
The technology was first deployed, with numerous errors that reportedly denied drivers’ bonuses after malfunctions, in the US. Last year, the internet giant produced a corporate video detailing how the cameras monitor drivers’ driving behavior for safety reasons. The same system is now being rolled out to vehicles in the UK.
Multiple cameras are placed under the front mirror. One is directed at the person behind the wheel, one faces the road, and two are located on either side to provide a wider view. The cameras do not record constant video, and are monitored by software built by Netradyne, a computer-vision startup focused on driver safety. This code uses machine-learning algorithms to figure out what’s going on in and around the vehicle. Delivery drivers can also activate the cameras to record footage if they want to, such as if someone’s trying to rob them or run them off the road. There is no microphone, for what it’s worth.
Audio alerts are triggered by some behaviors, such as if a driver fails to brake at a stop sign or is driving too fast. Other actions are silently logged, such as if the driver doesn’t wear a seat-belt or if a camera’s view is blocked. Amazon, reportedly in the US at least, records workers and calculates from their activities a score that affects their pay; drivers have previously complained of having bonuses unfairly deducted for behavior the computer system wrongly classified as reckless.