Earlier this year in February, it was learned that Amazon was installing AI surveillance cameras in their delivery vehicles. The new cameras models dubbed "Driveri" are made by a company called Netradyne. These are designed to penalize the Amazon delivery drivers when it detects 13 preset safety rule-breaks. A video of the incident is then recorded and uploaded to the cloud in such instances for reviewing.
And while the system has been put in place to help improve safety while on road, the Amazon delivery drivers are apparently not very happy as the AI system would often allegedly penalize them for no wrongdoings.
Multiple drivers from various cities in the U.S. have told Motherboard about how the new AI surveillance cameras make poor judgements in many cases on almost a daily basis. And this in turn means they lose weekly safety scores which adversely affects weekly bonuses or other pays.
An anonymous delivery driver said:
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.
Former employees have also echoed similar sentiments. Jamie Gomez, a former delivery driver at Amazon said:
Before I would be able to win prizes and stuff, as soon as cameras came along, it went downhill
Another former delivery driver from Mobile, Alabama has stated:
The Netradyne cameras that Amazon installed in our vans have been nothing but a nightmare. They watch every move we make. I have been ‘dinged’ for following too close when someone cuts me off. If I look into my mirrors to make sure I am safe to change lanes, it dings me for distraction because my face is turned to look into my mirror. I personally did not feel any more safe with a camera watching my every move.
A Los Angeles driver has added that they have tried to inquire and appeal about the incidents to Amazon but hadn't had much luck in the matter:
When I get my score each week, I ask my company to tell me what I did wrong. My [delivery company] will email Amazon and cc' me, and say, ‘Hey we have [drivers] who'd like to see the photos flagged as events, but they don't respond. There's no room for discussion around the possibility that maybe the camera's data isn't clean.
Amazon however insists that appeals are manually reviewed so as to avoid any such mishaps.
Amazon delivery partner companies are also apparently not very pleased with the new camera system. An owner of such a firm has said:
It’s consistently beeping at drivers all day long. This creates a massive distraction to drivers on the road, and it creates a massive workload for delivery companies to review video. It's way too much labor to get it done every week. If you get 600 or 700 events a week, drivers might never get coaching on it.
Another partner company owner has even put forth a bigger accusation:
Amazon uses these cameras allegedly to make sure they have a safer driving workforce, but they're actually using them not to pay delivery companies. They just take our money and expect that to motivate us to figure it out.
Earlier in the year too, there was controversy surrounding the deployment of the new Netradyne Driveri camera systems as it was reported that drivers would have to provide biometrics or lose their jobs upon failure of doing so.