Uber’s SOS button to alert local police control room

Taxi hailing app, Uber, has said it has upgraded its ‘SOS button’, which when pressed will now send a real-time alert to the local police control room directly to respond to the emergency. The US-based firm had introduced the SOS button in February 2015, following concerns of safety, after a woman was allegedly raped in New Delhi by a driver working for the firm. Earlier, using the SOS button, users could dial 100 as well as share their trip details and real-time location with up to five friends and family members.

Now, the police will also receive details like GPS location, rider and driver information like name, photo and vehicle number. “…we have developed a bespoke solution which is ready to be rolled out across cities in India. Now, when a rider pushes the SOS button, not only will they be connected with the local authorities over the phone but Uber’s backend system will simultaneously generate a real-time ‘SOS alert’ that is sent directly to the local police control room that responds to emergencies,” Uber said in a statement. The instantaneous alert contains critical information of the relevant trip and is projected on a dedicated screen in the control room of the local law enforcement agency, it added.

“We welcome the opportunity to partner with Police departments and other law and order agencies around the country to embrace technology and improve accountability in urban mobility for the benefit of millions of commuters in cities across India,” Uber India Safety Lead, Deval Delivala said. The company said it is in advanced discussions with authorities to launch this solution in multiple cities across India in the coming weeks. It has already conducted an intensive and successful period of beta-testing in Kolkata, it added.

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