Uber has announced the launch of Audio Recording, a new feature which allows its Kenyan riders and drivers to record audio of their trip in the next few weeks.
The introduction of the new opt-in audio recording feature in Kenya follows its recent launch in Nigeria. It has been in use in the USA and South Africa.
The audio recordings can then be submitted as evidence in the case of a safety incident – something that Uber says its drivers have been asking for based on their feedback from roundtable sessions.
As an addition to the suite of safety tools on the app, the feature enables the rider or driver to opt-in to record the audio of a trip at any time during the trip by pressing the blue shield icon on the app and selecting “Record Audio”. While both riders and drivers can record the audio of individual trips, drivers have the option to leave the feature on while they’re actively seeking rides.
According to Uber, the file is encrypted and stored on the respective rider or driver’s devices, but no one can listen to the audio; not even Uber. The audio can only be listened to if either the rider or driver decides to report a safety incident. They can attach the audio file, and a trained Uber safety agent will decrypt and review the recording. If no safety incident is reported, the recording will auto-delete after a few days.
This in-app solution leverages a driver or rider’s phone so no additional hardware is required, which makes it easy to use and available at the touch of a button. Riders and drivers will be aware that this feature is available to the other but, for safety reasons, will not know when the feature is being used.
Imran Manji, Head of East Africa, Uber said, “The safety of the users on our platform is a key priority for Uber. We believe that this feature will further improve the conduct of users of the Uber app, as drivers and riders hold each other accountable every step of the way. We have rolled this feature out in other markets where it has proven very successful, and we are hoping to see similar up-take across the country.”
The audio recording is meant to improve the overall quality of evidence collected on the safety cases that are reported by both riders and drivers. This means that both riders and drivers will have the ability to record the trip and submit their recordings alongside the safety tickets they’ll submit. By logging a safety incident and attaching the recording, Uber can then access the file for investigation purposes.
“Verbal altercations and other violations can be difficult to investigate without evidence, however with Audio Recording in place, we are confident that Uber will be better able to adjudicate such incidents to ensure that the appropriate action is taken,” Manji said.
The audio recording follows the recent introduction of Safety Check-Up; a feature that encourages riders to utilise and turn on the safety features available in-app, including Trusted Contacts, Verify My Ride, and RideCheck.