Uber hails new safety features


Firm unveils PIN verification for starting trips, RideCheck to keep tab on trip anomalies

Uber on Thursday announced new safety features such as PIN verification for starting trips, RideCheck to keep a tab on certain trip irregularities as well as the option of recording audio while on-trip.

Uber’s rival in India Ola offers two of these features — one-time password to begin trips and ‘Guardian,’ a real-time monitoring system that analyses indicators such as route deviations and unexpected and midway stops.

With the PIN verification, riders will receive a four-digit code that they need to provide to drivers to begin the trip. “We are also working on advanced technologies that will in future use ultrasound waves to automatically transmit the safety PIN for verifying rides,” said Sachin Kansal, senior director of global safety products, Uber.

The RideCheck feature will enable the company to flag certain trip irregularities such as long, unexpected stops or midway drops that might indicate an increased safety risk, especially for women. “If an anomaly is detected, Uber will initiate a RideCheck by reaching out to both the rider and the driver,” the company said.

Uber will be piloting audio recording in India this year. It will give an option to both the rider and the driver to record audio through their phone while on-trip. When the trip ends, the user will have an option to report a safety incident and submit the audio recording.

“The audio file shall be encrypted and the user cannot listen in to the stored recording on their device, but may choose to send it to Uber’s customer support agents who will use the audio to help better understand an incident and take appropriate actions. Only Uber will have access to the audio once the user submits it,” the company added.

Mr. Kansal said, “...we [are] working towards introducing audio recording in India as a pilot this year and roll-out the RideCheck feature for long stop and midway drop-offs. We have been piloting and refining these features in different markets globally to ensure they work well for both our riders and driver partners. Privacy is incredibly important for Uber and all these tools are designed keeping that in mind.”

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2020 5:10:49 AM |

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