The CEO of Uber Technologies is looking to improve the conditions of the Uber app. It will be rolling out new Uber features on the Uber app and new investments in the United States this summer.
New Uber Features: What Do We Know?
On Thursday, Dara Khosrowshahi, CEO of the San Francisco-based technology company, published a personal blog post on the Uber website. The post stated that because its technology helps millions of people gain access to automatic vehicles, the company feels they hold a tremendous amount of responsibility when it comes to keeping people safe on the roads while using those vehicles.
The CEO disclosed in the blog post that there will be roughly a dozen new features rolled out in the app in the summer of 2018. For instance, the Uber app will soon have a dedicated place for its riders to brush up on various pieces of safety information. Adding to that, CEO Khosrowshahi disclosed that riders will soon be able to select five friends or family members, designating them as their “Trusted Contacts.” What does this feature do? Well, Uber riders will be eligible to share trip details with those five “Trusted Contacts” during every ride they take in an Uber vehicle.
Perhaps the most notable change Uber will be making on its app this summer is launching a 911 Assistance feature, as well as now requiring all of its drivers to have background checks conducted each year. This is important, as Uber has struggled as the last year or so, and most of the problems have stemmed from a lack of safety the passengers feel in Ubers. For the last year or so, Uber drivers have been accused of sexual harassment, and the company even saw its CEO at the time, Travis Kalanick, step down from his position after reports surfaced that sexual harassment occurred under his administration.
Regarding the 911 assistance feature, Uber stated that though it hurts the company to think that someone might need to call 911 while using its service, it does recognize that “no form of transportation is 100% free of incidents.” For these reasons, the Uber app will soon feature an emergency button that one could press, directly putting the passenger in contact with 911.
As for the tightening of background checks for its drivers, Uber plans to use a startup called Checkr to rerun criminal and motor vehicle checks. Keep in mind Uber already uses Checkr, but those look at check drivers’ records within the past seven years. Therefore, it is not as accurate, and that’s what Uber is missing. Essentially, it will be using Checkr for more update checks on their drivers.
To end, the Uber CEO disclosed that it will be expanding its safety advisory board. The board was initially created in 2015, and today, Uber announced its first chair of the board: former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson. There is no doubt in my mind that Johnson’s experience with safety and technology will benefit the company in the long-run.
Overall, I think these new Uber features and investments will give the company the facelift it desperately needs. In no way should the scandals Uber is facing be dismissed, but at least the company is working towards bettering things in the long run. Change doesn’t happen overnight, but I would say Uber is on the right track.
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