US ride-sharing company Uber unveiled in a press conference in Dubai on Wednesday a series of new in-app safety features for both its riders and drivers across the Middle East.
The new features, most of them already applied and others to be launched soon, will be available for Egypt's users, including caller privacy, real-time ID and limits on driver working hours.
"Uber serves millions of riders across the globe and we care about their safety, so we invest tens of millions of dollars in research just to develop safety measures," Uber’s Global Head of Safety Products Sachin Kansal told Ahram Online during a roundtable meeting with Egyptian journalists.
The highlight of the new features is the caller privacy, which allows riders and drivers to call each other without revealing either’s phone number.
Uber’s Global Head of Safety Products Sachin Kansal during a round table with Egypt's journalists to reveal new safety features amid a press conference in Dubai on Wednesday
"Riders and drivers will be able to communicate directly through operators with a random number appearing temporarily and used only during the ride," Kansal explained, adding that the random numbers are generated by technology that only uses unused numbers through direct cooperation with the operators and third parties.
To confirm the identity of drivers, Uber has developed a driver verification system that randomly requests that drivers take a selfie to verify that their face matches the picture on their account before they can receive ride requests online.
Riders and drivers will also be able to share their live locations with trusted contacts they can select.
Uber is also developing technology to alert drivers if they exceed the speed limit, and the drivers will be required to stay offline for at least six hours if they have worked for 12.
"We are hard workers in our region, but because safety is non-negotiable, Uber drivers will not be allowed to work over a maximum of 12 hours unless they rest and remain offline for at least six hours," Uber Middle East General Manager Anthony El-Khoury told Ahram Online.
Uber’s Global Head of Safety Products Sachin Kansal reveals new features durong a press conference held in Dubai on Wednesday
In late 2017, Uber announced it would make investments of $20 million over the next five years in its support centre in Cairo, saying Egypt was one of its fastest-growing markets worldwide.
Uber had 4 million users and employed 150,000 drivers in Egypt in 2017, the company said in January 2018. \
Uber will obligate drivers randomly to confirm their identity through a selfie feature