It is rush hour. You have just booked a cab through Uber and as cars whizz past, you are left clueless as to which ride is yours. Worry not, the cab-hailing app is will now be signalling passengers through a brightly lit LED light on the windshield. Cool, isn’t it ? Sadly, its only in the states and that too on a pilot…but hey Uber! India needs this more than any other country across the globe.
Currently in pilot, when you book a ride through Uber using this new feature, you can actually choose a colour between yellow, orange, pink, purple, blue or green, which will be flashed on your ride. The new feature has been named as SPOT by the taxi-aggregator. That solves one part of the problem.
But then you think, that doesn’t it still leave the driver with the tough task of figuring out the passenger amongst hundreds of pedestrians ? Uber has a solution for that too. Passengers are required to press a button with the previously selected colour. Now the selected colour will be flashed on the phone and passengers can lift their hand in the air and wave the phone so that the driver will be able to spot them easily.
SPOT comes as a great way for passengers to save waiting time and for the driver partners to save fuel. Uber is giving out a few drivers the LED lights, referred by Uber as SPOT bars to test out the feature in Seattle. The SPOT bars will only light up when the ride is nearby and not when the ride is booked, which also makes this an energy efficient smart move.
As of now, Uber — like any other cab aggregator out there — relied on GPS to detect a passenger’s location. But in low network connectivity areas, passengers had some difficulty finding their Uber amidst tons of other taxi’s passing them by.
Uber has been continually adding new features into its app to make riding with Uber a whole new experience. However, Uber still faces some criticism in some markets due to the way it operates — and those markets quite highlightingly include India.
Nevertheless, it has tried to improve upon its features and has recently come up with more new features such as suggested pickup points so that it is easier for the driver and the passenger to spot the ride; back-to-back rides and mapping cars among others.
SPOT is not available across all the markets operated by Uber. It has been launched in Seattle in a testing mode. Only if the users give the feature a resounding thumbs up, will the rest of us will be able to use the SPOT next time we book a ride.