E-commerce giant Amazon recently confirmed that it has equipped some delivery vans with AI-powered cameras, and it already uses an intrusive tracking app called Mentor to monitor workers delivering packages.
CNBC reports that last week Amazon announced plans to install AI-enabled cameras in vans used by some of its contracted delivery partners, but the firm has been using software to track delivery drivers for years.
Amazon requires all contracted delivery drivers to download and run a smartphone app called “Mentor” that monitors their driving behavior while they’re working. The app generates a score each day that measures employees’ driving performance.
In 2018 Amazon launched the delivery service partner (DSP) program. The program is made up of contracted delivery firms that handle a growing number of Amazon’s last-mile deliveries. Since its launch, the program has grown to include more than 1,300 delivery firms across five countries, posing a major threat to an industry that was previously dominated by shipping giants such as UPS and FedEx.
The Mentor app is framed as a “digital driver safety app,” to help employees avoid accidents and other potentially dangerous driving habits while delivering Amazon items. However, multiple delivery drivers speaking to CNBC described the app as invasive and raised concerns about bugs within the app that at times lead to unfair disciplinary actions from their manager.
Devin Gonzales, a former drives who was fired by his Colorado-based DSP last month, stated that he received an infraction on the Mentor app when his phone rang while driving even though he did not answer the call. “I got a ding because someone called me and I didn’t answer it,” said Gonzales. “I had no control over it,” he added.
An Amazon spokesperson told CNBC:
Safety is Amazon’s top priority. Whether it’s state-of-the art telemetrics and advanced safety technology in last-mile vans, driver-safety training programs, or continuous improvements within our mapping and routing technology, we have invested tens of millions of dollars in safety mechanisms across our network, and regularly communicate safety best practices to drivers.
Read more at CNBC here.
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