Uber will add panic button to its app in India

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Zach Miners/IDG News Service

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Uber riders in India will soon have an added safeguard in case of emergency. According to the company’s blog, starting February 11th, the app will provide users in India with an in-app panic button to notify police that something’s wrong.

In addition, Uber will provide what it calls a “safety net” feature. With it, riders will be able to “easily share their trip details and real-time location with up to 5 friends and family members,” according to the company.

The additional safeguards come after a woman alleged that her Uber driver raped her back in December. Delhi officials subsequently banned Uber from operating in the city  as the police carried out its investigation into the case.

Why this matters: Although it’s unclear whether Uber’s new safety features will make an appearance in the US or elsewhere, they’re good first steps toward improved safety for Uber riders.

Physical panic buttons a no-go...for now

According to Uber, transportation officials in India asked the company to provide physical panic buttons in cars, but Uber says that physical buttons would result in various logistical issues.

“In addition to causing confusion, we found that not only are physical buttons prone to wear and tear, but also mechanical malfunctions,” Uber said in its blog post. “There is no way to ensure that they are kept in working condition across all the cars in the city.

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