Amazon to use smart cameras to watch delivery drivers

Amazon will be installing artificial intelligence-imbued cameras in delivery vehicles. The company confirmed its plans on Thursday and said its part of an initiative to keep drivers safe.

The cameras are designed to watch the road and the driver, noting concerns as well as good practices, according to a tutorial video.

“We are investing in safety across our operations and recently started rolling out industry-leading camera-based safety technology across our delivery fleet,” the e-commerce colossus said in response to an AFP inquiry.

“This technology will provide drivers real-time alerts to help them stay safe when they are on the road.”

Word of Amazon watching over delivery drives with smart cameras was met with concerns about privacy and the potential for unfairly harsh scrutiny by the company.

“This amounts to the largest expansion of corporate surveillance in human history,” Fight for the Future deputy directory Evan Green said in a released statement from the digital rights group.

“We’re demanding that Amazon immediately stop the roll out of this unsafe program, and we call on Congress to launch a full investigation into Amazon’s surveillance empire.”

The Seattle-based company has faced criticism over work conditions at its vast logistics network, which includes using contractors for deliveries.

Amazon said the sophisticated camera systems were made by Netradyne, a California firm that uses video monitored by artificial intelligence to improve safety.

The camera system uses machine learning “to recognize distracted driving behaviours and risky situations,” according to the Netradyne website.

Amazon cited research showing these systems can reduced accidents through in-cab warnings and by improving driver behaviour.

The video presentation indicated the cameras included no live feeds to monitor the drivers in real time.