Uber announced today that the company has been conducting a review of its safety policies over the past month, and plans to roll out a number of changes to improve the safety of the driving service.
As a part of that review, the company said that it plans to roll out new technology to improve the safety of its customers. Uber’s Safety Product Team is in the process of conducting research and development efforts on biometrics and voice screening to enhance the company’s driver screening tools. In addition, the company is looking into ways it can easily connect customers to Uber support and family members in the event of an emergency, as an extension of its ShareMyETA ride tracking feature.
The company has also hired Tim Collins, the former head of Amazon’s Europe Operations team, to run its customer service efforts. Collins will be charged with improving the customer service experience for the company’s customers. He’ll be overseeing the roll-out of Safety Incident Response teams around the world to provide rapid, 24/7 support “in the event of a safety incident.”
The post comes after the company’s service was banned from New Delhi, India after a driver allegedly raped a female passenger. The driver had already been charged with rape on at least two prior occasions, though he had been acquitted in one case and granted bail in the other. Uber has faulted India’s lack of infrastructure to perform background checks on its commercially licensed drivers, and re-iterated in this post that the company is investigating ways to roll out background checks on a global scale.
It’s been an interesting year for Uber, which raised two massive rounds of funding totaling $2.4 billion. The company has courted controversy in the Pacific Northwest, launching service in Portland even though the city has declared the company’s operations illegal.
Chinese search engine Baidu has also made a strategic investment in the company, and plans to integrate Uber’s service into its products so that users can request a ride while inside Baidu’s mobile app. That’s big news, since Uber is working hard to push its service in China.