Report: Amazon’s AI-Powered Surveillance Cameras Are Punishing Drivers for Bad Traffic

Jeff Bezos at Blue Origin press event ( Joe Raedle /Getty)
Joe Raedle /Getty

According to a recent report, Amazon delivery drivers claim that AI-powered surveillance cameras in their vans are incorrectly penalizing them leading to loss of income. The cameras seem to blame Amazon’s delivery drivers for events outside of their control, such as being cut off in busy city traffic.

VICE News reports that after Amazon installed AI-powered cameras in its delivery vans, drivers immediately began finding issues with the system. In March, Breitbart News reported that Amazon was rolling out new digital sensors in its delivery vehicles across the U.S. to monitor and control the activity of its workers in efforts to improve efficiency. The firm installed machine-learning powered surveillance cameras in its delivery vans earlier this year,then told employees they must agree to be surveilled by AI or lose their jobs.

Amazon delivery driver

Amazon delivery driver ( PATRICK T. FALLON /Getty)

Amazon CEO Andy Jassy

Amazon CEO Andy Jassy (Isaac Brekken/AP)

Amazon delivery drivers in the U.S. are now being told to sign “biometric consent” forms to continue working for the e-commerce giant. The information that Amazon is collecting from workers seems to vary based on the surveillance equipment being fitted in each van, but the company’s privacy policy covers a wide range of information.

Now, many workers are claiming that the AI system is incorrectly penalizing drivers. One driver at Amazon’s depot in Los Angeles referred to as “Derek” by VICE News, said that the AI camera in his van began to incorrectly penalize him when other drivers cut him off — a daily occurrence in big city traffic.

Amazon delivery trucks

Amazon delivery trucks (Todd Van Hoosear/Flickr)

The camera installed above Derek’s seat would state “maintain safe distance,” when a car cut him off. This data was then sent to Amazon and was used to evaluate his performance and determine whether or not Derek received a bonus. Derek told VICE News: “Every time I need to make a right hand turn, it inevitably happens. A car cuts me off to move into my lane, and the camera, in this really dystopian dark, robotic voice, shouts at me. It’s so disconcerting. It’s upsetting, when I didn’t do anything.”

VICE News spoke to six delivery drivers in California, Texas, Kansas, Alabama, and Oklahoma and the owner of an Amazon delivery partner in Washington. All claimed that the AI-powered cameras made by the tech startup Netradyne do not encourage safe driving but rather punish drivers for “events” that are beyond their control.

Read more at VICE News here.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address lucasnolan@protonmail.com

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