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Amazon is about to use AI-equipped cameras in delivery vans, and drivers are concerned about their privacy

Amazon is about to use AI-equipped cameras in delivery vans

February 5, 2021: The company recently tested AI-equipped cameras in vehicles to monitor the delivery drivers while they’re on the roads doing their job, confirmed by an Amazon spokesperson, Deborah Bass.

The drivers will be noticed continuously when they’re out for their daily deliveries. At the same time, the aim is to improve safety.

Amazon has deployed the cameras in Amazon-branded cargo vans used by some companies that are part of its delivery service partner program, mainly responsible for last-mile deliveries.

DSPs are contracted delivery providers, usually distinguishable by Amazon-branded cargo vans, who pick up packages from Amazon delivery stations and dropping them off at doorsteps. 

The cameras could improve safety, but according to privacy advocates and several DSP drivers, they’re concerned about potential privacy tradeoffs.

According to some drivers, the cameras will add extra pressure to a job that is hectic already, which involves an intense workload of delivering hundreds of packages a day.

Footage of the cameras can be used for employment decisions, according to a privacy policy issued by Amazon.

Amazon said the cameras record “100% of the time” when drivers are on the way, seen by CNBC.

The cameras are equipped with artificial intelligence software capable of detecting 16 different safety issues, including drivers failing to stop at a stop sign, distracted driving, speeding, hard braking, and whether the driver is wearing a seatbelt.

One DSP driver in Kentucky said the cameras could also detect when a driver is yawning; in that case, the camera will tell them to pull over for a minimum of 15 minutes. If the driver doesn’t follow the instructions, they’ll get a DSP call to do so.

The camera will issue an audio alert if the safety measures are violated, such as “Maintain a safe distance,” “No stop detected,” and “Please slow down,” according to the video, said Karolina Haraldsdottir, a senior manager for last-mile safety at Amazon.

“Safety is our top priority at Amazon, and we hope that this new system will give drivers and DSPs peace of mind while out delivering smiles to our customers,” Haraldsdottir says in the video.

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