Uber is rolling out a new update to its app for drivers that monitors their speed and other factors, the company announced on Wednesday. The app will crunch GPS data from drivers’ phones to present speed information in real time.
The update, which will be available to drivers in 11 U.S. cities in the coming weeks, will also bring a handful of other safety-oriented features. These include reminders to take breaks from driving, messages that prompt drivers to mount their phones on the dashboard, and reports that show how drivers’ behaviour compares to that of other drivers in the same city.
Uber’s technology will also be able to detect when drivers brake harshly by monitoring sensors in their smartphones, according to The Wall Street Journal, which also notes that drivers in at least nine cities will receive the update starting Friday. Drivers in these test cities, which include New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, will see a summary of their trip that includes scores for accelerating and braking, reports the Journal.
The new tracking features could give Uber and its drivers a better understanding as to why some trips are rated poorly. An Uber representative said the pilot program is still in its early stages, and the data gathered from the program alone would not be used to remove a potentially dangerous driver from Uber’s platform. The new features may also invite driver privacy concerns.
It’s not the first time Uber has experimented with monitoring driver behavior. The ride hailing company began tracking drivers in Houston by looking at the sensors in their smartphones earlier this year, but now appears to be launching this programme more broadly.