The ride-hailing company is set to roll out the feature in four cities globally in preparation for New Year's Eve, one of its busiest nights of the year. Drivers in Miami, Denver and Nashville in the US and in Newcastle, England, will be issued the beacon devices at community events in the coming days, Uber announced Thursday.
The beacon sits on the driver's car windscreen, and it will display the color selected by the passenger within the app, with the aim of making pickups easier at busy times and in busy areas, and for people with visual impairments. But this is not just a stunt for New Year's Eve. The company -- which elsewhere is experimenting with self-driving cars -- is keen to roll the beacons out to more cities in 2017.
Some Uber drivers and passengers have experienced problems in the past with passengers climbing into the wrong cars and or ending up in cars not driven by Uber drivers at all. Giving passengers more ways of identifying the right vehicle and driver provides peace of mind for everyone involved.
As well as introducing the beacons, Uber is adding more details about exactly which car passengers should look out for into the app. Passengers will be provided with color details and photos of their vehicle to check out while they wait. This is in addition to the vehicle registration number and driver photo that Uber already provides.
In the latest version of Uber's app, customers will also notice an update that introduces shortcuts. This feature will let you store your favorite places so that pickup and drop-off details are readily available, meaning you can make a speedy exit from the office Christmas party when things start to get rowdy.