At a recent São Paulo event, Uber has announced its plans to test a new audio-recording feature that is supposed to make both drivers and riders feel safer and, which is also important, improve the company’s safety record.
The new feature will allow drivers and passengers to record audio during their rides. For now, it will only be tested in cities of Brazil and Mexico starting December this year. Still, Uber hopes to launch the new technology into the US and other markets later on, although the exact date is unknown.
Users will have options to either record all trips or the selected ones. To start the recording, riders will need to tap a button in the Safety Toolkit of the Uber app, while drivers can set up the new feature automatically and it will record all rides. There’s no information as to whether users will need to enable the feature before every trip or not.
Neither drivers nor passengers will certainly be able to listen to the rides recording because Uber will encrypt and store them on the driver’s or the rider’s phone. When necessary or if there’s a need to report a problem, after the ride is completed, users can send those encrypted audio recordings to Uber that will have the encryption key.
Moreover, neither passengers nor drivers in the cities where the new feature will be tested will know if the other is recording the trip because they will get a warning in an Uber app and via email that their ride may be recorded.
As soon as the trip is completed, users will be asked whether it went okay. They can choose to share the recording with Uber’s customer support team isfthere are any safety issues, and the audio may then be used if there’s a need for investigation of the incident.
The feature needs to comply with local laws, so Uber has to make sure it does because audio recording laws may vary from state to state in the USA.
The feature is announced in the run-up of Uber’s deadline for releasing a safety report on sexual assaults, abuse, and other safety issues. For instance, drivers have suffered from attacks and robbing, while passengers have been victims of sexual harassment and assault.