Uber wants to make it easier for riders to find their drivers.
The ride-hailing giant today announced Uber SPOT, a new feature rolling out this month in Seattle that utilizes LED lights on driver windshields to help customers locate the right vehicle.
A small group of drivers in Seattle will test Uber SPOT this month. After hailing an Uber ride with one of these drivers, a customer will select one of six colors in the app while waiting. When the driver arrives, the LED light will glow in the same color. Riders can also press and hold the color on their app to make their phone screen light up, thus helping the driver see them.
The idea is to help drivers and riders find each other more efficiently. Customers can already see the license plate number, a photo of the driver, and a photo of the vehicle, but this adds another layer to the identification process.
“This is simply an attempt to make the experience more seamless and personalized,” Uber Seattle GM Brooke Steger told GeekWire.
Steger added that Seattle is a “fantastic tech city” to test Uber SPOT. The company, which began operating in Seattle four years ago, opened an engineering center in the city earlier this year and launched UberEATS this past October. Uber is also running new TV ads in Seattle to recruit new drivers.
Meanwhile, a former Washington state Uber driver last month filed a lawsuit alleging he was wrongfully classified as an independent contractor by the ride-hailing company, meaning he hasn’t received compensation and employee benefits he’s owed, according to court records.
Uber is also butting heads with Port of Seattle officials over the right to pick up passengers at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.