Technology

Live security agents to help people during troublesome Uber rides

When a call or text exchange is requested, the agent can monitor an ongoing trip, stay in contact through the duration of the trip, and even reach out to 911 on the user's behalf.

San Francisco: Ride-hailing major Uber has overhauled its safety toolkit, and riders can now get help, via phone or text, from a live safety agent from home security company ADT in the US in case they need to.

When a call or text exchange is requested, the agent can monitor an ongoing trip, stay in contact through the duration of the trip, and even reach out to 911 on the user’s behalf.

The company has also expanded the availability of a feature enabling customers to text 911.

“After tapping on the safety shield, riders will see large tiles with all the safety help options available in their area. In the Safety Toolkit, riders and drivers have access to the emergency button and can report safety incidents to us directly while on a trip,” said Rebecca Payne, Lead Safety Product Manager at Uber.

Uber has partnered with ADT to bring its users the support of a safety expert.

The agent can get key trip details, like the vehicle’s make and model, license plate number, and GPS location from the rider.

“We hope this new feature will give users additional peace of mind knowing that help is available right in the app for any safety situation,” said Payne.

“We are now expanding text to 911 to nearly 60 per cent of the US, including all of California and New York City, where the technology is in place for 911 centers to receive text messages,” she added.

When someone uses the text to 911 feature, the Uber app will pre-populate the initial message with vehicle details, location, and destination information, “so you can quickly communicate that information to emergency dispatchers”.

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