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07 September 2018, 08:29 | Jodi Jackson
Uber will check in with riders and drivers if something seems ... off
Uber is aiming to boost driver and passenger safety in an effort to rebuild trust in the brand.
Going forward, Uber will hide specific pickup and drop-off addresses in the driver's trip history so that only the general area where a trip has started and ended will show up on the driver's app, not the address. In the event of an emergency, Ride Check will present options like calling 911, or triggering an in-app emergency button.
The features, which follow others announced in April, use technology that only a company valued north of $70 billion might be able to build. "That's because when it comes to safety, our work is never done", Khosrowshahi said.
Despite the scandals, Uber's ridership is growing, although it is struggling to make money ahead of Khosrowshahi's planned public stock offering sometime next year.
Uber also said it will publish a "safety transparency report" to publicly put numbers behind how many sexual assaults and other incidents occur on its platform.
"Safety should be our No. 1 priority", Khosrowshahi said onstage. Uber made the in-app 9-11 feature available earlier this year to riders but it's now accessible for drivers. More than 90% of all customers are likely to have ratings over 4.5 or more, the company added.
Uber and its main USA rival, Lyft Inc., are racing to make their platforms safer.
Ride-hailing companies have long faced questions over how thoroughly they vet their drivers. In April, Uber started doing annual criminal background checks on USA drivers and hired a company to constantly monitor criminal arrests. Uber says drivers can "can accept trips and communicate with customers using just their voice".
The company's experiments with self-driving cars are still on hold after one of the vehicles hit and killed a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona, in March.
"Going forward, after the trip ends, the driver app will only show the general area where a trip started and ended, not the address, " said Khosrowshahi who noted that the new features will be rolled out in the coming months. "We want to get the technology ready for prime time as soon as possible", he said.
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