Transit giant Uber introduces its audio recording feature in the United States. Starting at the end of the month, the feature will be available in the Uber app in three US cities: Kansas City, Louisville and Raleigh-Durham. The company will likely take driver and passenger feedback into account before expanding this pilot program to other cities.
According to Uber, drivers and passengers will be able to record audio during the ride individually. The option is available from the âShieldâ icon on the map screen. Drivers can also continue to check in while they are actively searching for drivers. New drivers are notified in the app if their driver is recording audio.
All recordings are encrypted and stored locally in the respective party’s phone. No one can listen to the recording, neither you nor Uber. But if either party decides to submit a safety report to the company, they can download that recording. A trained company agent will then decrypt the file, reviewing the recording to find out what happened. This gives Uber’s built-in audio recording feature an edge over using third-party recording apps. In addition, no one will be able to listen to these recordings unless it is required for safety reasons.
Uber launched the audio recording feature in Latin America almost two years ago. The feature has been well received by consumers in the region and is now available in 14 countries, including Mexico and Brazil. The company also brings it to the United States. We’ll let you know as the feature becomes available to Uber users in other US cities.
Uber adds several more security features
In addition to the launch of audio recording in the United States, Uber also announced a few other safety and security features. The company plans to launch proactive audio seat belt alerts in the app in the near future. The alert will come from the driver’s phone and remind drivers to fasten their seat belts at the start of a trip. Runners will also receive a push notification for the same on their phone. This feature will be available in the United States early next year. Uber hopes this will increase seat belt use, which can significantly reduce the number of fatalities in accidents.
Additionally, Uber announced an enhancement to its RideCheck feature introduced in 2019. This feature uses GPS data and other sensors in the driver’s smartphone to detect possible accidents and unusual stops during a trip. Now RideCheck can also detect when a trip takes an unexpected route or ends before the final destination. In this case, it will send a notification to drivers and riders to check if everything is fine. In the event of a problem, they can quickly contact the emergency services.
Uber says the vast majority of trips on its platform are smooth. “But in the rare event that things go wrong, we want to make more security resources available to users,” writes Sachin Kansal, vice president of product management for the company. âWe will continue to work to develop and deliver new features to help improve your security. “