The SOS button in your Uber app is about to get a lot more useful. It will now send a real-time SOS alert to local police control room, which will include trip information like your exact location tracked by dedicated GPS devices that Uber now has in its cars, your driver's name, photo and car number, instead of simply dialling 100.
This information will be projected on a dedicated screen in police control rooms set up by Uber's safety experts, says a blog post on Uber's website.
"Yes, we've paid for the equipment we've given to police control rooms across the country," says Deval Delivala, Uber's India Safety Lead.
Uber has been beta-testing this feature in Kolkata for the last few months and says that it is in "advanced talks" with authorities in multiple citis across India to roll out this feature. The San Francisco-based company currently operates in 11 Indian cities, but Deval is tight-lipped about which cities this feature will be available in.
"It really depends on which cities are willing to work with us on this," she says.
Ever since an Uber driver allegedly raped a New Delhi passenger in December last year, Uber has been trying to ramp up security. In the immediate aftermath of the incident, Uber introduced police verfication and background checks for its drivers. In February, it added a feature that allowed passengers to share real-time ride details with up to five pre-selected contacts.