The new safety feature is now live in the United States and is expected to roll out in other countries very soon.
Uber announced the emergence of ‘RideCheck’ on their ride-hailing platform last year. The high-tech feature accesses your smartphone’s GPS, accelerometer, gyroscope and other sensors to determine ride irregularities including crashes and unexpected lengthy halts, as reported by The Verge. GPS is used to monitor if rides take an unusual turn to off-route destinations.
The company reportedly spent a year fine-tuning RideCheck prior to its release.
RideCheck alerts both Uber drivers and riders if anything seems out of the ordinary during a trip. It prioritizes the safety of users by notifying them with a list of options including calling 911 or the company’s own safety hotline. It can also prompt Uber’s safety operators to reach out and check on rider’s safety when triggered.
The system is linked to an Uber driver’s smartphone which usually keeps the app on during the trips. False positives (i.e. dropping the phone) are avoided through Uber’s sophisticated machine learning technique which studies the multiple factors affecting the phone and its various sensor input.
Similar auto accident detection systems in smartphones are available in other apps. The technology is found on Zendrive which has been operating under it for a number of years now. Another example is GM’s OnStar which uses the vehicle’s sensors detect crashes and automatically notify officials of possible accidents.
Uber released RideCheck in an effort to double down on safety. The company has been under scrutiny for its previous lack of features to ensure ride safety.