Uber has added a new button to their app that easily allows passengers to call 911 and broadcast their current location.
Uber has added a new feature that allows users to quickly contact 911 and tell them their current location, according to TechCrunch. Uber is also integrating with Rapid SOS in seven test markets to automatically share location information with 911 dispatchers. Users also have the option of sharing trip details with trusted contacts so they can alert friends or family about their whereabouts.
Uber is testing the automatic location sharing with 911 dispatchers in seven cities: Denver, Charleston, SC, Nashville, Chattanooga and Tri-Cities, TN, Naples, FL. and Louisville, KY. Uber Director of Product Management Sachin Kansal said that the company chose which cities to test the new feature in based on “readiness of cities” and “how fast some of them were able to move in terms of training agents and testing functionality.”
Kansal has said that the company is already in talks with several other cities to implement the automatic location sharing feature, with the companies goal being to make the option available everywhere. Kansal said that as Uber began to research their new 911 feature they began looking for the biggest issues that users face and “found out that accurate location of the caller is one of the biggest problems. Whenever you call 911, the first question is often, ‘What is your location?’”
“At the end of the day, when a user is in an emergency, we want them to use whatever will be the fastest mechanism for them in that moment in time,” Kansal said. “If they’re already in a phone dialer, call 911 from there.” Kansal stated that the company wants to make it “extremely easy for them [users] to dial, as well as to receive information at their fingertips.”
Uber has dealt with many scandals relating to drivers in recent years, most relating to sexual assault cases. Breitbart News has reported on multiple cases of Uber drivers assaulting their passengers, many of which were living in the U.S. illegally. Uber’s former President of Business in the Asia Pacific, Eric Alexander, was fired for sharing the medical records of a customer in India who was raped by her driver in 2014. Alexander reportedly obtained the victim’s medical records while in India and shared them with CEO Travis Kalanick and V.P. of Business Emil Michael.