UBER can now use a smartphone to detect if you’ve been in a crash.
It’s part of a host of new safety features announced by CEO Dara Khosrowshahi as part of his one-year anniversary on the job.
The new feature is called Ride Check, and makes use of the sensors that already live inside the driver’s smartphone.
It’ll pull data from the GPS chip and accelerometer to work out if the car has suddenly stopped.
Once it thinks you’ve crashed, both the driver and passenger will receive a pop-up message on their phone.
This pop-up message will ask if they’re okay, and whether they need any help.
If you respond to the pop-up saying that you’re not okay, it’ll initiate some kind of response.
The exact response isn’t confirmed yet, but Uber said this may involve linking you directly to emergency services, or a dedicated Uber safety line.
There’s also a separate option to report a crash yourself, if the Ride Check feature hasn’t automatically detected a collision.
“We want Uber to be the safest transportation platform on the planet…and this is just the beginning of the journey,” said Khosrowshahi.
“Whether you’re a rider or driver, Uber’s got your back.”
Uber said it would also use Ride Check for other reasons – including if a car has stopped for an unusual amount of time generally.
There’s no firm date for when Ride Check will be available, but Uber said we’ll see it in the coming months.
Khosrowshahi announced a bunch of other handy features to improve safety on journeys, too.
Drivers will soon get access to a hands-free feature that lets them pick up passengers without ever having to touch their phones.
In the UK, it’s illegal to use a smartphone with your hands while driving a car, so this will significantly improve safety for drivers.
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Uber is also changing its systems so that drivers will no longer see data showing where they’ve received passengers in the past.
This is to protect passenger safety, so rogue drivers can’t stalk passengers they’ve previously ferried around.
Uber will soon add a new masking technology to protect phone numbers and addresses between passengers and drivers.
And passenger accounts will soon get two-factor authentication, which means you’ll require an extra method of verification to log in – beyond a simple password.
This will probably involve getting a unique code sent over email or via SMS.
What do you think of Uber’s new feature? Let us know in the comments!