Amazon has started placing AI-powered cameras in delivery vans to keep an eye on drivers.
The company explains that it is an investment in safety. Amazon told the international news agency, “We are investing in safety across our operations and have rolled out a number of resources to provide delivery service partners with information to help them keep drivers safe when they are on the road.”
What will the cameras do?
The camera system was explained in a video posted on Vimeo by Karolina Heraldsdottir, a senior manager of the last mile safety. According to her, Driveri is designed by Californian start-up Netradyne, a transportation company that merges video and AI.
She said that the system has four high-definition cameras that can recognize “good driver habits” as well as bad. One camera points at the driver, one on the road and two on either side of the vehicle.
Why is Amazon facing backlash?
The new technology was criticized as it has been described as “surveillance”.
The Kentucky-based driver said if someone yawns, they will be told to pull over for 15 minutes.
One commented: “Big Brother in the sky wants to watch us now. I’m praying they pay us more since they want to watch every single mistake we may make.”
Director of UK-based Big Brother Watch, Silkie Carlo, commented on the system: “Amazon’s appetite for surveillance knows no bounds. This intrusive, constant monitoring of employees creates an oppressive, distrustful and disempowering work environment that completely undermines workers’ rights.”
She said the firm would face a serious backlash if it attempted “Big-Brother-style staff spying” in the UK.
A spokesperson for the GMB union said: “Rather than gimmicks, Amazon’s new CEO should invest in making work safe for all Amazon workers and drivers.
“The idea of robot cameras now keeping watch on downtrodden delivery drivers is like something straight out of a dystopian George Orwell novel.”