Uber is using smartphone tech to verify feedback

29th January 2016
Posted By : Nat Bowers
Uber is using smartphone tech to verify feedback

Feedback from both riders and drivers is important for Uber, hence why the company insist that drivers rate the passengers, and vice versa, after each ride. The reasons for low ratings are not always obvious: a driver might be unhappy about an unruly passenger; or, alternatively, a rider might be worried that the driver was going too fast.

Either way, Joe Sullivan, Chief Security Officer, Uber, feels the need to check what actually happened. Mostly it’s about talking to both sides, he said, but increasingly technology can help get to the truth.

According to the CSO, that’s why the company have been running a pilot programme to verify feedback using smartphone technology. Gyrometers in phones can measure small movements, while GPS and accelerometers show how often a vehicle starts and stops, as well as its overall speed. If a rider complains that a driver accelerated too fast and broke too hard, the samrtphone data allows Uber to review that trip using data. If the feedback is accurate, then the company can get in touch with the driver. And if it’s not, that information can be used to make sure a driver’s rating isn’t affected.

Generalising, all road users drive too fast from time to time and speeding is the root cause of many accidents. In 2012 speeding was responsible for nearly one in three fatal accidents in the U.S., causing over 10,000 deaths that year alone. And distracted driving can be just as big a problem. In 2013, over 3,000 people were killed in car crashes that involved distracted drivers. According to Uber, texting or talking on the phone triples your chances of getting into an accident.

According to Uber: "Road safety is a critically important issue. It’s why Uber is always on the lookout for new ways - from the simple to the sophisticated - to do better. If you use the Uber app in Charlotte, North Carolina you might find a Bop It toy in the back of your driver’s car. Folks there have found it’s a great way to keep drunk riders entertained so they don’t distract their driver. And in Seattle, drivers utilise colour-coded lights to help riders find their cars more easily at night. New safety solutions are always in the works, so keep your eyes out for the next new programme in your city."

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