Starting Tuesday, you may notice something different in your Uber app.
After a string of assaults and even some cases of rape by its drivers, Uber is unveiling a new safety feature that will connect directly with police if you're in danger — with the push of a button. And in some cities starting Tuesday, the feature is even more advanced.
"We are talking to our riders and drivers and we know that if they're ever in an emergency situation, they want help fast," said Sachin Kansal, Uber’s director of product management.
TODAY national investigative correspondent Jeff Rossen got an exclusive first look at the new feature and demonstrated it. When he pushed the "call 911" button in the Uber app's new safety toolkit, the app immediately displayed his exact location, the make and model of his vehicle, and its licence plate number. Rossen relayed the information to the dispatcher who answered his 911 call, and within five minutes, police were on the scene.
But in six cities, the technology goes even further. Uber says the app will automatically send your name, exact location, make, model, color and the license plate number of your Uber to 911 dispatch the moment you hit the button — even if you can't speak.
The pilot municipalities in which the advanced emergency button will be available Tuesday are:
- Denver, Colorado
- Charleston, South Carolina
- Chattanooga, Tennessee
- Naples, Florida
- Tri-Cities, Tennessee
- Louisville, Kentucky
In addition, Uber says that Nashville, Tennessee, will be the next city to get the advanced emergency button on its app.