Tech

Amazon’s driver monitoring app is an invasive nightmare

Amazon’s app to monitor drivers while in delivery vehicles is called “Mentor” but it doesn’t seem to be helping those workers.

A CNBC report about the tracking app comes after Amazon confirmed on Feb. 3 that it is using AI cameras in vans to monitor driver behavior and flag any safety issues. Those cameras are used on top of the separate driver safety app. The app is tracking the driver at all times either on an Amazon-provided device or on drivers’ personal cellphones. 

Mentor is made by eDriving, which describes the app on its website as a “smartphone-based solution that collects and analyzes driver behaviors most predictive of crash risk and helps remediate risky behavior by providing engaging, interactive micro-training modules delivered directly to the driver in the smartphone app.”

But CNBC talked to drivers who said the app mostly invades their privacy or miscalculates dangerous driving behavior. One driver said even though he didn’t answer a ringing phone, the app docked points for using a phone while driving. Another worker was flagged for distracted driving at every delivery stop she made. The incorrect tracking has real consequences. ranging from restricted payouts and bonuses to job loss. 

The app gives a safety score which is used to rank drivers and compare them to colleagues. The App Store description calls this “a little friendly competition!” The app also tracks braking, acceleration, cornering, speeding, and distraction. CNBC reported that seatbelt use is another factor for the safety score. 

Drivers have come up with creative workarounds to appease the Mentor app, which often determines any movement as a sign of distracted driving. Reddit and other online forums, as well as YouTube videos, give advice on how to keep your Mentor score high while doing your job. Being forced to  game an app instead of focusing on the task of driving and getting packages delivered sure sounds safe.

 



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