Uber's plan to improve rider safety: biometric scans, 24/7 response teams

Protestors from All India Students Association (AISA) demonstrate outside the Delhi Police headquarters after a taxi driver from the international cab-booking service Uber allegedly raped a young woman Friday in New Delhi, India, Sunday, Dec. 7, 2014.
After coming under fire for safety issues in recent days, Uber has responded with a blog post Wednesday that lays out a series of steps it plans to take.
The ride-hailing service touted multiple technological options, ranging from biometric scans to more polygraph exams, that its team is exploring in order to improve driver screening and rider safety.
"We are initiating research and development on biometrics and voice verification to build custom tools for enhanced driver screening," Phillip Cardenas, head of global user safety at Uber, wrote in the post. "We are also investing in ways to provide riders the instant ability to communicate with us and their loved ones in the event of an emergency, building on top of our ShareMyETA feature."
Uber is also collaborating with advisors who have backgrounds in women's safety and conflict resolution areas, and is working to build 24/7 response teams.
"We are also building Safety Incident Response teams around the world with the goal of providing 24/7, immediate support in the event of a safety incident," Cardenas said.
Earlier this month, Uber was banned in New Delhi after a female passenger was allegedly raped by one of its drivers. Just days later, Uber reportedly offered a small credit to a woman who complained about a driver asking to perform oral sex on her.
Uber now operates in 260 cities across more than 50 countries. The company revealed in the post that its users took more than 140 million Uber rides in 2014.

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