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Uber is going to start using drivers’ phones to detect crashes

September 6, 2018

On the first anniversary of Dara Khosrowshahi’s taking over at Uber, the ride-hailer announced a suite of new safety features yesterday.

The news: Using the phone’s sensors, including the GPS, accelerometer, and gyroscope, “Ride Check” will detect if something is amiss. If it senses an accident, the passenger will be sent questions to confirm there has been a crash, and it will prompt a 911 call. The company’s safety operators may also contact passengers to make sure they weren’t injured.

Other safety features: The new system will also reach out to customers when the car stops for too long, ensuring they are safe. Additionally, drivers can now operate the app using their voice—a hands-free alternative to fiddling with their phone while operating a vehicle. The app will also limit drivers’ access to customer pick-up and drop-off locations, keeping addresses anonymous.

Why it matters: These changes come in the wake of the murder of a passenger who used Chinese ride-hailer Didi. Uber’s measures are meant to prevent such an incident from happening on its platform.

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