Uber’s upcoming ‘Ride Check’ feature could save your life

Uber has recently been making more of an effort to improve the safety of its service via features that include Trusted Contacts, an in-app panic button, and a new Safety Center section within the app. A recent clash with the authorities in London also prompted Uber to focus more on safety for not only riders but drivers, too.

Now the ridesharing giant is harnessing the technology inside your smartphone for a new feature that aims to detect when an Uber vehicle crashes. For sure, this is a rare event, but when it happens, a speedy arrival by first responders could be the difference between life and death.

Ride Check

Using built-in smartphone sensors such as the accelerometer and gyroscope together with GPS data from hundreds of millions of Uber rides, the new feature, called Ride Check, is able to detect with a high degree of accuracy whether the Uber vehicle you’re riding in has been involved in an accident.

When Ride Check kicks into action, both the rider and the driver will receive an alert to their smartphones asking if they’ve been in a crash. If they have, a number of options come up, including one-tap buttons for 911 and Uber’s safety line. Alternatively, if the ride is going just fine, you can tap another button to let the system know that everything’s OK.

You might believe you’d be perfectly capable of making an emergency call by yourself without any prompt from Uber, but the disorientation than can follow a serious accident means you might not even think about calling 911. And consider this: What if the accident is so serious that neither you nor the driver can respond? If Uber’s notification receives no response, its safety team will be alerted to the possibility of a serious incident, thereby allowing it to take quick action.

Variations of Uber’s crash-detection technology are already in use. San Francisco-based Zendrive, for example, has been developing the technology for a number of years, while GM’s OnStar system is also designed to automatically contact first responders in the event of a smash.

Ride Check can also alert Uber to potential security issues, too. For example, if the Uber vehicle stops for longer than what appears to be necessary, Ride Check will send a message asking if everything’s all right. Response options include hitting the app’s emergency button or reporting any problem to Uber’s critical safety line.

The Ride Check feature, which is expected to roll out in the next few months, was announced on Wednesday, September 5 by Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi. Now a year in the job, the former Expedia CEO was hired to help sort out the company after several years of increasingly chaotic leadership under its founder, Travis Kalanick.

Computing

Nvidia’s flagship RTX 2080 Ti graphics cards are failing. Or are they?

Nvidia's RTX 2080 Ti Founders Edition may be the main cause for the worst problems associated with the new-generation high-end cards. All evidence suggests that partner cards aren't experiencing any common issues.
Movies & TV

The best new movie trailers: ‘Buster Scruggs,’ ‘Missing Link,’ ‘Mowgli’ and more

Everyone loves a good trailer, but keeping up with what's new isn't easy. That's why we round up the best ones for you. This week, it's new trailers for The Ballad of Buster Scruggs and Mortal Engines, and the first trailer for Missing…
Cars

Ambitious but not rubbish: The best 'Top Gear' episodes

Since its relaunch in 2002, 'Top Gear' has become required viewing for any serious gearhead. The great moments from this show may seem too numerous to count, but we've managed to pick some of the highlights from the first 25 seasons.
Smart Home

Arlo Doorbell and Chime will tell, you who’s at your door, are available to buy

It's been nearly half a year since Arlo became its own company, and now the smart home device maker is showing what it can do as a solo act with its new audio doorbell and chime. Both are now available.
Deals

Make some time for the best smartwatch deals for November 2018

Smartwatches make your life easier by sending alerts right on your wrist. Many also provide fitness-tracking features. So if you're ready to take the plunge into wearables and want to save money, read on for the best smartwatch deals.
Deals

Bigger than Black Friday: Don’t miss the best Single’s Day deals

Thanks to AliExpress, Single's Day – the world's largest retail day – is no longer a foreign affair. If you're ready to do some early holiday shopping or want to score some discounts ahead of Black Friday, we've rounded up some of the…
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: 1-handed drone control, a pot that stirs itself

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Mobile

Our favorite ebook reader is not a Kindle. Here are all the best options

If you're a bookworm, an ebook reader can be an important part of your life, one that allows you to read your books whenever and wherever you like. But which should you get? Here are five of the best ebook readers available.
Mobile

Samsung made a $2,700 flip phone with the brains of a smartphone

The Samsung W2019 is a high-end flip phone that comes with flagship specifications such as 6GB of RAM and Qualcomm's Snapdragon 845. The device features a pair of S-AMOLED displays, a dual rear camera setup, and an eye-popping price tag.
Mobile

Google, Samsung, OnePlus, and Huawei face off in an Android battle royale

The good news is that there are some great options in the Android smartphone market right now. The bad news is that too much choice makes it tough to decide. We compare the Pixel 3 XL, the Galaxy Note 9, the OnePlus 6T, and the Mate 20 Pro.
Product Review

It's so fast it has a clip-on fan. But the Asus ROG phone isn't just for gamers

Is a gaming smartphone only something a mobile gamer should consider buying? In the case of the Asus ROG Phone, the good news is the device is so capable, and a genuinely impressive all-rounder, that everyone should take a closer look…
Mobile

Apple to boost its Amazon presence with listings for iPhones, iPads, and more

Apple is about to start offering more of its kit on Amazon. The tech giant currently only has very limited listings on the shopping site, but the deal will see the arrival of the latest iPhones, iPads, MacBooks, and more.
Deals

Black Friday 2018: The best deals so far

Black Friday is the biggest shopping holiday of the year, and it will be here before you know it. If you can't wait until November 23 to start formulating a shopping plan, we've got you covered.
Mobile

Get your gaming on the go with this list of the 25 best Android games

The Google Play Store is loaded with both terrific and terrible gaming titles. We vetted the store to bring you some of the best Android games available, whether you're into puzzles, shooters, racing games, or something else.