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Uber's Beacon is a colorful light to guide you to the right ride

It's currently being trialed in Miami, Denver and Nashville in the US and Newcastle in the UK.
Matt Brian, @m4tt
December 15, 2016
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While ride-hailing companies have made it easier than ever to identify your driver and the car they're driving, there's often room for mix-ups, especially when it's dark. In an attempt to bring some clarity to proceedings, Uber has today introduced Beacon, a new light that attaches to a driver's windscreen and displays a color that you specify in the app. It's only in the trial stage right now, but riders in Miami, Denver and Nashville in the US and Newcastle in the UK will start seeing them from this week.

As soon as a driver starts making their way to your location, the option to choose will pop up. Select a color from the wheel and the Uber icon will change accordingly. Uber says it'll help riders "quickly identify a booked vehicle at night, helping to make pickups easier during busy times and areas." It's a lot like Lyft's Amp dashboard, which debuted last month, and builds on an earlier Uber color coding test called SPOT.

Beacon isn't the only improvement Uber is making today. Alongside the car registration plate and make and model of a driver's car, the Uber app will display the color of the vehicle and supply photos so you can see what your car looks like before it arrives.

Uber says that while Beacon's rollout is currently limited, it is working with drivers to ensure there are as many lights available ahead of one of its busiest nights of the year: New Year's Eve. It intends to expand the trial to more cities in 2017 but hasn't confirmed which ones are next on its list.

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