Amazon on Wednesday announced plans to equip its delivery vans with cameras powered by artificial intelligence in a bid to improve driver safety. The online retailer said it had recently started rolling out the technology to its delivery fleet, confirming plans disclosed in an Amazon instructional video reported by The Information earlier today.
AI cameras, developed by transportation management technology start-up Netradyne, issue warnings about potential safety issues, Amazon declared its video. In-cab warnings have been shown to reduce collisions and improve driver behavior, says Karolina Haraldsdottir, Last Mile Safety Officer, in the video.
“Our intention with this technology is to prepare drivers for success and provide them with support to be safer on the road and handle incidents if and when they do occur,” Haraldsdottir explains in the video.
But some Amazon pilots have called the cameras a threat to privacy. Comments in a Reddit group for Amazon pilots compared the system to George Orwell’s Big Brother sighting and offered suggestions on how to obscure the lenses.
Netradyne’s camera, called Driveri, has four HD lenses pointing in different directions: one on the driver, one on the road ahead, and two on each side of the vehicle. The system recognizes good driver behavior as well as bad behavior, says Haraldsdottir.
The cameras will constantly record video, but will only download images when triggered by one of 16 actions, such as not stopping at a stop sign, distracted driving and speeding, the report says. video.
“This technology will provide drivers with real-time alerts to help them stay safe while on the road,” an Amazon spokesperson said in a statement.
A Reddit user rejected the company’s stated goal of helping improve driver safety. “No,” the user wrote, claiming instead that it will be used “to watch us and punish us for every little thing.”