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Uber Launches Audio Recording In The US, Adds More Safety Features

Uber Record audio
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Ride-hailing giant Uber is introducing its audio recording feature in the US. Starting later this month, the feature will be available in the Uber app in three American cities: Kansas City, Louisville, and Raleigh-Durham. The company will likely consider feedback from drivers and riders before expanding this pilot program to other cities.

According to Uber, drivers and riders will be able to record audio during the trip individually. The option is available from the “Shield” icon on the map screen. Drivers also get to keep recording while they are actively seeking riders. New riders are notified in the app if their driver is recording audio.

All recordings are encrypted and stored locally in the respective party’s phone. No one can listen to the recording, neither you nor Uber. But if either party decides to submit a safety report to the company, they can upload that recording. A trained company agent will then decrypt the file review the recording to find out what happened. This gives Uber’s built-in audio recording feature an upper hand over using third-party recording apps. Also, no one will be able to listen to those recordings unless required for safety reasons.

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Uber launched the audio recording feature in Latin America almost two years ago. The feature has been received well by consumers in the region and is now available in 14 countries, including Mexico and Brazil. The company is now bringing it to the US as well. We will let you know as and when the feature comes to Uber users in other American cities.

Uber adds several other safety features

Along with launching audio recording in the US, Uber has also announced a couple of other safety and security features. The company plans to soon launch proactive, audio seat belt alerts in the app. The alert will come from the driver’s phone and remind riders to put the seat belts on at the start of a trip. Riders will also receive a push notification for the same on their phone. This feature will be available across the US early next year. Uber hopes this will increase seat belt use, which can significantly reduce fatalities during accidents.

Additionally, Uber has announced an enhancement to its RideCheck feature introduced in 2019. This feature uses GPS data and other sensors in the driver’s smartphone to detect possible accidents and unusual stops during a trip. Now, RideCheck can also detect when a trip takes an unexpected route or ends before the final destination. In that case, it will send a notification to drivers and riders to check if everything’s fine. If there’s an issue, they will be able to quickly contact emergency services.

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Uber claims the vast majority of trips on its platform go smoothly. “But in the rare event that things go wrong, we want to make more safety resources available to users,” writes Sachin Kansal, Vice President of Product Management at the company. “We’ll keep working to develop and deliver new features to help enhance your safety.”