Uber is testing a new way to make its riders feel safer by allowing them to record their rides.
Spotted by Hong Kong-based developer Jane Manchun Wong, who reverse-engineers apps to unearth unreleased features, the ride-hailing startup is experimenting with a new audio-recording tool inside its app.
The feature is part of Uber’s Safety Toolkit, which houses a bunch of other options a user might need in the event of an emergency. While Uber has yet to share official details on the potential new feature, the built-in audio recorder will allow people to document misbehaving drivers or any other conversations where they may feel uncomfortable.
The feature will supposedly have a direct link with Uber’s emergency support team. While it’s unconfirmed at this point, there is a chance the app will be capable of live-streaming the audio so that the company can respond and immediately send assistance as opposed to saving the clip locally and asking users to send it later.
Uber is testing "Record Audio" in case the rider is uncomfortable with the ride pic.twitter.com/btC5C0F3CN
— Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) September 30, 2019
Wong says she couldn’t check how the feature functions since she was on an active ride when she came across the new option.
In the last few years, Uber has scrambled to leave behind its tainted public image behind. Yet, the company continues to find itself at the center of a controversy seemingly every week.
Most recently, Uber has come under fire for how it handles customer complaints of crimes like sexual assault. According to a Washington Post report, Uber uses a three-strike system for bad driver behavior, and the company’s investigations team is “forbidden” from reporting allegations against drivers to police. Uber has failed to take action against accused drivers and typically enforces a frail set of guidelines for new registrations. Plus, being booted from Uber’s system still allows a driver to work for a competitor.
Uber has tried to make amends with a collection of much-needed tools. Earlier this month, it launched RideCheck, a system which can detect unusual events such as crashes and long stops.
We’ve reached out to Uber for additional details on the new feature and will update this story if we hear back.
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- Uber received more than 3,000 reports of sexual assault in the U.S. in 2018