Skip to Content
Silicon Valley

Uber will use your smartphone’s sensors to check if your car has stopped suddenly

September 17, 2019
An Uber driver behind the windscreen of his car
An Uber driver behind the windscreen of his car
An Uber driver behind the windscreen of his carAssociated Press

Uber will check in with riders and drivers if it detects unusual activity during rides in the US.

How it works: The system, called “RideCheck,” uses the GPS, accelerometer, gyroscope, and other sensors on the driver’s smartphone to monitor for irregular activity, like an unexpected long stop, or a car crash. If it detects something out of the ordinary, a notification pops up on both the driver’s and rider’s app to see if everything is okay. Options range from confirming there’s no problem to calling 911 or Uber’s safety hotline.

The AI element: Uber says it uses machine learning to screen out false positives, like a lost phone, the Verge reports. Uber has been working on the system for a year and will roll it out to other countries in the following months.

The context: Ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft are under pressure to improve safety amid a spate of lawsuits from women who say they have been sexually assaulted by drivers. Lyft is currently being sued by 14 women in California, with the lawsuit alleging about 100 more reports of sexual assaults by Lyft drivers between May 2015 and May 2016. It announced a similar feature to RideCheck last week. Meanwhile several states, including Massachusetts, California, and Texas, are currently investigating Uber over passenger safety.

Sign up here for our daily newsletter The Download to get your dose of the latest must-read news from the world of emerging tech.

Keep Reading

Most Popular

images created by Google Imagen
images created by Google Imagen

The dark secret behind those cute AI-generated animal images

Google Brain has revealed its own image-making AI, called Imagen. But don't expect to see anything that isn't wholesome.

biomass with Charm mobile unit in background
biomass with Charm mobile unit in background

Inside Charm Industrial’s big bet on corn stalks for carbon removal

The startup used plant matter and bio-oil to sequester thousands of tons of carbon. The question now is how reliable, scalable, and economical this approach will prove.

AGI is just chatter for now concept
AGI is just chatter for now concept

The hype around DeepMind’s new AI model misses what’s actually cool about it

Some worry that the chatter about these tools is doing the whole field a disservice.

Peter Reinhardt
Peter Reinhardt

How Charm Industrial hopes to use crops to cut steel emissions

The startup believes its bio-oil, once converted into syngas, could help clean up the dirtiest industrial sector.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.