Tech

Amazon Delivery Vehicles to Have Always-on Surveillance Cameras

As per a new report, Amazon plans to install high-tech video cameras in its delivery vehicles in order to better monitor the behavior of drivers as they deliver packages.

The hardware and software will be supplied by Netradyne, a California based company behind a platform called Driveri that uses cameras and artificial intelligence to analyze a driver as they operate the vehicle. The camera then gives real-time feedback, while collecting analysis that is used to later evaluate drivers during their shifts.

The Netradyne cameras document 100 percent of the time and mechanically add footage.

The advertising and marketing video showcases how the cameras record 100 percent of the time (though without audio and not viewable live) and upload footage for evaluation if any one of 16 indicators is triggered by means of an incident taking place on the road or an action the driver takes. The driver is able to manually disable the camera, but only when the ignition is off. Drivers can also manually upload footage when they choose to.

Amazon’s senior manager for last-mile safety Karolina Haraldsdottir said, “We are always searching out innovative ways to keep the drivers safe. That is why we have partnered with Netradyne to help make improvements to the driver experience. Netradyne is the first company to merge AI with video to create industry-leading safety systems, reducing collisions by a third through in-cab warnings and another third by means of improving the driver behaviors.”

Haraldsdottir also said, “Amazon needs to arrange drivers for fulfillment and provide them support to assist for being safer on-road and dealing with incidents if they occur.”

Amazon is growing the platform of third-party workers using their own vehicles under the Amazon Flex platform. As part of this network, Amazon operates a fleet of thousands of delivery drivers all over the country that are not technically company employees. Drivers are subject to restrictions or monitoring and the control Amazon exerts even over its warehouse workers. It includes minute-by-minute surveillance via the mobile app of where a driver is on their programmed route and whether or not they’re falling behind schedule.

Amazon had also stepped up its surveillance on contract Flex drivers in private Facebook groups to see whether some were planning labor actions like work stoppages or strikes. In March of last year, Amazon also faced flak over declining to pay Flex drivers who were forced to stay home due to the coronavirus.

Amazon delivery drivers have also caused many accidents over the last half-decade, and some that even resulted in deaths, but the company usually avoids liability for accidents as it employs third-party firms and independent contractors. Just earlier this week, Amazon was ordered to pay more than USD 61 million to Flex drivers as part of a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission over wage theft allegations.

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