Uber’s invention can prevent lost phones in its vehicles

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Credit: Pixabay

You just got out of an Uber. You feel lightness in your pocket only to realize that your phone isn’t there and the vehicle has already left.

Are you familiar with this situation?  

Yeah! We have all been there. We tend to misplace our phones the most during our taxi rides.

In The 2019 Uber Lost & Found Index, Uber notes that phones are the most commonly forgotten items.

Uber has a solution for this ‘lost phones’ problem.

Last week The World Intellectual Property Organization published an international patent application filed by Uber.

The patent application talks about identifying lost phones by comparing location information of passenger and driver smartphones during and after a trip.

Lost phone detection using geospatial location data

The Uber transport arrangement system is connected to the Uber app running on passenger and driver smartphones. The transport arrangement system assigns a service status indicating that the service has started (or is in progress) in response to the driver arriving at the pickup location.

The system monitors the locations of the passenger and driver smartphones during the duration of the trip. The system compares the location information to determine whether the smartphones are in proximity to each other.

The smartphones may also transmit sensor data or telematics information like speed, acceleration/deceleration, events, stops etc. to detect proximity. The system receives data from the smartphones and determines that the devices are in proximity to each other.

Both the smartphones continue to transmit their location information periodically during the duration of the trip and for a specified time period of time after the trip ends.

Once the destination is reached, the transport arrangement system assigns a service complete status in response to the driver input through his smartphone app.

The system continues to monitor the information locations of the passenger and driver devices for a specified period of time (e.g., 30 seconds, 5 minutes, etc.) after the “service complete” status is assigned.

If it is determined that the devices remain in proximity to each other after the specified period of time has elapsed, the system notifies the passenger and the driver of the lost passenger phone.  The passenger and driver phones emit a high-pitched sound and also vibrate to alert the passenger and the driver of the presence of the passenger’s phone. The system also sends a message to the driver through the app and notifies the passenger via a message, email or a second phone.

Claim 1 from the patent application is given below:


1. A method comprising:

while a transportation service is in progress, receiving sensor data from a provider client device associated with a provider of the service and sensor data from a user client device associated with a user of the service;
receiving data from the provider client device that the transportation service is no longer being provided to the user;
responsive to receiving the data, comparing the received sensor data from the provider client device and the received sensor data from the user client device;
responsive to the compared sensor data from the devices exceeding a similarity threshold, transmitting an alert to a secondary client device associated with the user.

Credit: WIPO

FIG. 1 from the patent application illustrates the system environment for an example network system, in accordance with an embodiment.

Credit: WIPO

FIG. 2 from the patent application is an interaction diagram for detecting a lost device using received radio signals, in accordance with an embodiment.

Credit: WIPO

FIG. 3 from the patent application is a flow chart for notifying users of a lost device, in accordance with an embodiment.

Credit: WIPO

Currently, passengers can retrieve their misplaced items in Uber by selecting the relevant trip and contacting the driver from their Uber account.

It is unknown at this point of time when Uber is going to start using this invention.  

Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.

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2 thoughts on “Uber’s invention can prevent lost phones in its vehicles

  1. Great post. I was checking constantly this blog and I’m impressed!

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