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Uber Now Knows If Your Ride Has Gone Wrong—By Tapping Your Smartphone’s Sensors

September 17, 2019, 11:07 PM UTC

Uber announced a new safety program called RideCheck on Tuesday, aimed at automatically detecting crashes by using GPS and other sensors in its riders’ and drivers’ smartphones.

Part of an ongoing campaign that launched last year to increase safety for its riders and drivers, the new feature is currently available in the U.S. As a part of the program, riders can now add five people as “trusted contacts” who will receive an Uber user’s trip information. Should things still go wrong, the program also makes it easier to contact 911 through the app, which also now includes a safety center with information on Uber’s safety processes.

“Helping keep millions of riders and drivers around the world safe is a huge responsibility with unique challenges,” said Sachin Kansal, Uber’s head of safety products.”While I’m proud of the progress we’ve made, when it comes to safety, we know our work is never done.”

RideCheck works by using GPS and other smartphone sensors to detect a possible crash, or if a ride has gone off course. If the app detects a ride that’s gone awry, both the driver and the rider will be prompted with a notification asking if everything is alright. They can both then say that everything is fine or access the emergency button or Uber’s Safety Line, which is meant for non-emergency situations.

Uber first rolled out RideCheck a year ago. The feature began in a pilot that Uber refined before rolling it out throughout the U.S. The ridesharing company said it plans to expand RideCheck to other countries soon.

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