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Uber drivers in India will start collecting area data to improve safety

Philip Palermo, @Philip_Palermo
February 24, 2015
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Uber's connecting with a crowdsourced safety app and, eventually, local government to help improve conditions in New Delhi, India. The company announced a partnership with SafetiPin, a firm that collects location-based info and offers a "safety score" for a given area. The idea is that Uber's "partner-drivers," as the company calls them, will start collecting nighttime safety information throughout the New Delhi area -- a city where an Uber driver was accused of rape last year. Since those allegations surfaced, the company has announced various efforts to improve passenger safety in the Indian capital. In fact, Uber's partnership with SafetiPin closely follows the company's addition of an in-app "panic button" for the area earlier this month.

During the program, Uber's drivers will use car-mounted cameras to capture roadside conditions at regular intervals. The photos will be tagged and drivers will rate the areas based on nine categories including lighting, openness, visibility, security, walk path, crowd/gender diversity and density. Uber's plan is to share the data it gathers with local governments to figure out ways to address problem areas -- be it upgraded lighting along a certain street or other safety improvements. The program is set to launch in New Delhi on February 25th and run for five months. Uber hasn't set any timetable for when to expect the partnership to bear fruit in the form of actual safety improvements. Though, considering the call for government involvement and the red tape associated with public works improvements, one can assume changes won't come overnight. While the program is kicking off in the Indian capital, Uber says the program will expand to Nairobi, Kenya, and Bogotá, Colombia, in the future.

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