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PIN verification, ride monitoring system, and audio recording: Uber’s new safety features for India

Ride hailing app, Uber announced three safety features for Indian market, including an opt-in 4-digit PIN verification to ensure that riders get into the right car, intervention from Uber in case of unusual long stops during a ride, and in-ride audio recording. The first two features were rolled out yesterday, while the audio recording feature will be rolled out as a pilot later.

Opt-in PIN verification of rides: As part of the PIN authentication feature, riders will receive a 4-digit PIN at the start of a ride, which they have to communicate to the driver. The app will register the ride only after the PIN has been entered by the driver.

  • According to pictures posted by Uber, the PIN verification feature is an opt-in feature, where riders can choose to enable it for every trip, or only for trips taken between 9 pm and 6 am.
  • Apart from that, the platform is also working on using ultrasound waves to automatically transmit the PIN.
  • It is worth noting that Uber’s rival in India, Ola, has had this feature for several years now. Also, Uber had launched thus feature in the United States back in September 2019.

Uber will ‘ride check’ in case of unexpected halts: In case of unexpected long stops or other irregularities in a ride, Uber will call both the rider and the driver to ensure that everything is alright. Uber will detect interruption in rides by the driver’s smartphone.

  • This feature has been dubbed as Ride Check. Uber hasn’t clarified what would constitute “other irregularities,” and we have reached out to them to understand that.
  • Again, Ola has been testing a similar feature, called “Guardian,” since September 2018.

Courtesy: Uber

Users will be able to record audio of the cabin while riding: When the audio-recording feature would be launched in India, it would give riders and drivers an option to record audio using their respective smartphones while on a trip.

  • The recording can then be submitted to Uber in case the user wants to report an incident. Uber has clarified that the audio files will be stored on users’ devices in an encrypted form and can not be accessed locally on the device.
  • Uber will be able to decrypt the audio and listen to it after the rider chooses to send it to Uber to report a safety incident.
  • As of now, Uber offers this feature in limited cities in Latin America.

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