Dhaka : The largest ride-sharing company in the world, Uber, has announced the launch of a "safety toolkit"-a consolidated and comprehensive set of safety features for riders in Bangladesh.
The announcement came on August 28, months after the toolkit was launched in the US. Riders will be able to enjoy the features by accessing the Uber app.
The safety toolkit aims to build on the existing safety features available to riders in Bangladesh. The toolkit will improve awareness and usage rates for some of the existing, as well as newly-introduced, features.
Riders can access the safety toolkit from the home screen of the app-from the moment the driver accepts the trip through till when the trip ends.
In May, the safety toolkit was launched in the US. Its design and features have been determined largely based on feedback from thousands of riders all across the world.
New features and investments
One of the features will include a "safety centre", where riders can find safety tips; it is built in partnership with law enforcement.
Riders can also learn about Uber's insurance protection and community guidelines. This feature will centralise key safety information and features for riders.
Another new feature that has been introduced is "trusted contacts", will allow riders to designate up to five people as contacts with whom one can share one's trip information.
Riders can modify the settings to share all trips, night-time trips, or none at all.
This new feature will make it easier to share trips with people the riders are familiar with-and it will also ensure the rider has arrived safely.
An emergency button has also been provided so that riders have direct access to 999, the police control room. Uber was the first ride-sharing company in Bangladesh to integrate the government's helpline number in the app in August 2017. It prompts riders to dial 999 in case of an emergency.
The button has now been placed under the shield button in the safety toolkit umbrella, and will offer a quicker swipe feature for riders during an unwanted emergency.
The new changes will build on the safety benefits that ridesharing already provides cities-such as helping people get reliable rides to their destination, tracking every trip with GPS, and linking to available safety apps of the local police.
Retaining the company's commitment to innovating for riders' safety, Uber announced the inauguration of its first Technology Development Centre in Latin America. The centre is focused solely on safety and is based in São Paulo.
The Development Center in Brazil will initially focus on advanced technologies to improve safety around the world, working with: advanced telematics, machine learning, high-scale distributed systems, real-time data processing, and mobile development-among others.
About 150 specialists will work at this new centre to develop technologies that may become new features and functions globally.