Ride-hailing app Uber is planning to introduce new safety features in India that include PIN verification, a RideCheck that detects trip irregularities, and audio recording. These new features will be rolled out as a pilot in India later this year.
RideCheck essentially tracks all rides and in case of an anomaly, for example, if the cab stops midway for longer than usual, they will reach out to the driver and the rider using a push notification asking them if there is a safety concern. They are currently testing it in Latin America and will launch it soon in India.
Uber will also pilot audio recording as a safety feature where a rider or a driver partner, in case of any safety concern or discomfort, will have the choice to record audio through the Uber app while on the trip. When the trip ends, the user will get the option to report a safety incident and submit the audio recording to Uber. The rationale is for Uber's customer support agents to use the audio to better understand an incident and take appropriate actions. Due to privacy concerns, the audio file will be encrypted and the users cannot access it from their app.
They will also start PIN verification feature where riders' pin will be matched with that of the driver in the beginning of every ride. Riders can provide their four-digit pin verbally to their driver as they get into the car. Its competitor Ola already has this feature since 2017. This will be rolled out in Uber apps over the next few weeks, said Uber's Senior Director of Global Safety Products Sachin Kansal. He added that they are also working on sound waves that will enable automatic detection of the PIN to verify the ride.
On the launch, Kansal said, "We have been piloting and refining these features in different markets globally to ensure they work well for our riders and driver partners. Privacy is incredibly important for Uber and these tools are designed keeping that in mind."
Uber has more than 5 lakhs driver partners in India.