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Uber gives drivers emergency button and conceals passenger locations

The company also laid out a roadmap for future safety features.
David Lumb, @OutOnALumb
September 5, 2018
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Hannah Mckay / Reuters

Uber has added more safety features for passengers and drivers in the last few months, like alerts for trusted contacts and a button to quickly contact emergency services. Today, the company unveiled a roadmap for additional features -- some they're implementing now and others they expect to roll into the platform in the future, from checking in on rides with strange activity to adding voice commands for drivers.

A couple new features come into effect today. One conceals rider pickup and drop-off addresses after the trip is finished, so the driver app only shows the general area where it started. Users can also set two-step verification to be required every time they log into their account, and can opt for text message or third-party authentication apps like Google's standalone Authenticator, Authy or Duo. Drivers in the US and Canada also get their own emergency button (with plans to expand in Mexico next) and an Insurance Hub to store their documents for quick access and to learn about their coverage.

The features coming in the future are more promising. Uber tracks each ride's GPS and if it detects anything wonky (long pauses, odd stops), it will prod both driver and passenger with a Ride Check to ask if everything's alright. This brings up the Safety Toolkit, from which both parties can report issues or use the emergency button. At some point, drivers will also get voice-activated commands -- but it's unclear when any of these features will be coming.

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