Uber detects a bump and organizes help
When we say Uber we think of an alternative means of transportation to cabs. And in fact, Uber is a big tech company, producing apps and testing the latest technology. Uber not only allows you to comfortably move from point A to point B, but also quickly deliver our food. Lately it has been spending big millions in the autonomous car sector and providing tools to take care of our safety.
A few days ago in Manhattan, Uber unveiled several improvements to the app, increasing safety for both drivers and passengers. The most interesting is the function "Riders check", which using GPS, accelerometer, gyroscope and other sensors of the smartphone, allows to detect a traffic accident. It's not the most common event, but when it happens, quick help can be a matter of life or death.
I want Uber to become the safest form of transportation in the world," Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said during the New York presentation.
When the application recognizes that an accident has occurred, a message is sent to both the driver and the passenger asking if a collision has occurred. If they tick yes, various options appear m.in. emergency and Uber phone calls. Of course you can also choose the option that it's a mistake and everything is OK. If the application does not get any response, Uber itself will inform the relevant services about a possible accident.
The function does not require any additional authorization as it is connected to the driver's phone, not the passenger's. Appropriate artificial intelligence algorithms track the entire journey, from start to finish, paying attention to what route it takes, the speed and how long the stops are. Based on this data it catches anomalies e.g. in case a driver stands in one place for too long. In this case, he gets a push notification asking if there is a problem and, based on the response, presents appropriate suggestions for solutions, including a call to emergency numbers.
Additionally, Uber has released a number of other features related to online safety and privacy. Drivers will no longer get exact destination addresses and pick-up points, but maps with the point marked. Before this change, the driver had the passenger's address saved for a given trip forever, even if the passenger deleted the app.
The company also introduced a new two-step form of authentication, which can now also be done through third-party apps like Duo or Google Authenticator.
From a technical perspective, I really like the "Riders check" feature, not only because it carries real value, but it's a cool example of how existing technology can be used, e.g. sensors in the phone, for purposes other than originally intended. It reminds me of one of the banking cases where in Bank Zachodni WBK (now Santander) it was possible to open an account using both cameras in the camera, including a flashlight – to prove to the consultant that the hologram on the ID card is real.