Uber combines its apps for ride hailing and food delivery, by adding a range of new safety features, encouraging alternative ways of traveling such as cycling, scooters and public transportation, and getting involved in & # 39; virtual restaurants & # 39 alongside dozens of other products. ; announcements that represent a major attempt, as the CEO of the company Dara Khosrowshahi says, to become "the operating system for your daily life".
The company rolled out the product updates on Thursday at an expanded Apple-like event in San Francisco. But first Khosrowshahi sat down for an exclusive interview with The edge to explain why reviewing the app makes sense at a time when Uber is struggling to stop his huge cash losses, is confronted with questions about his approach to safety and is fighting multiple regulatory fights across the country.
"We don't just live in the digital sphere, and the real world comes with all kinds of complications," Khosrowshahi said. "And for us the challenge is how to navigate through those complications and how to ensure that we are a constructive part of everyone's life?"
You can read more of our interview with Khosrowshahi here.
Uber announces many things, so let's take one thing at a time.
The home screen
Uber is going to look different right out of the gate. When you first open the app, you will see two boxes instead of asking the map and the search bar where you want to go: one with the text "take a ride" and one with the text "order food". Uber is combining its Uber Eats food service in its most important app for hatching.
"What we do see is that the users who use our app to drive and eat are our most satisfied customers," said Khosrowshahi. "We have more contact points with them than anyone else and our relationship is getting closer."
There is the possibility to add other services in the future, whether it is the delivery of groceries or something else.
Uber introduces a new four-digit PIN verification system to ensure that drivers do not get in the wrong vehicle. If you sign up, you must tell the driver aloud the pin code before he or she can start the ride.
Uber is also developing a new technology that uses ultrasonic waves to automatically verify that you are in the right car, no pin code required. The driver's phone sends this ultrasonic signal to the driver's phone to automatically verify the unique pin code. That technology should be ready within a few months, according to Sachin Kansal, head of Uber's safety product.
With the new feature & # 39; on-trip reporting & # 39; During the ride, cyclists can report safety incidents – inappropriate behavior, a long stop or a remote route – instead of having to wait for the ride to finish. Uber says the safety team will follow this up after the trip.
Last year, Uber added a panic button to call 911 from the app. Now you can also send 911 sms & # 39; and in cities and provinces that support this technology. Uber will automatically include the make, model, license plate number and location of the vehicle in the text.
Uber updates the "Real-Time ID Check" that it introduced in 2016, with drivers taking selfies to verify their identity. Drivers now have to move their heads, blink and smile to provide an additional layer of security.
And finally, the app now sends a push notification to your phone when you are dropped off at a bike path, so you don't accidentally hit someone with the door.
The new safety products are surrounded by serious accusations against Uber regarding his limp, risk-averse approach to driver safety. The Uber Special Investigation Team, which handles complaints from riders and drivers, should not escalate these issues into law enforcement or submit official police reports "even if they get confessions of crimes," The Washington Post. They should also not advise victims or potential victims of crime to seek legal advice.
Stories like these can lead to a loss of trust among the drivers, something that Uber is very aware of. "We don't think trust can be gained by one thing," Kansal said The edge. "I think the way we want to gain trust is by showing dedication, and that's going to be a long term."
Did you hear? Uber now loves buses and trains! Yes, of course, Uber said it wants to compete with public transportation. It made that clear in his S-1 application to the US Securities and Exchange Commission, but processed it later. Now Uber says it wants to supplement public transport, not kill it, and it adds real-time planning and planning to its app to prove it.
Uber's new transit function is live in Denver and London, and today the company is announcing a few more cities, including San Francisco, Mexico City and Paris. New York City is coming later this year, as well as six other currently unnamed cities. To begin with, it will only be planning and fare information, but Uber hopes to add ticketing in the near future (as in Denver).
When you connect your destination and there is a metro or bus that will take you there, it will appear at the top of the list. And it will probably be the cheapest option. "To a certain extent we are competing against ourselves," Khosrowshahi said, "but we have the philosophy that if a better product is available to the user and we think that an integrated motion solution is better for the user, we should be the ones competing with ourselves versus others who do it. "
Uber's electric bikes and scooters also get a boost. Starting next month, Uber will show bicycles and scooters on the map, both the Jump bicycles and scooters and the scooters of rival Lime. The company will make this change to the 28 cities where the two-wheeled options are available, plus a dozen US cities where scale scooters are available via the Uber app.
Uber also tackles the problem of empty batteries through a network of Jump into charging kiosks, allowing riders to replace an empty battery with a new one on the road. Those kiosks will appear in certain cities later this year.
"We are making a very big gamble on e-bikes," said Khosrowshahi. "They make you feel like you're Superman when you use these things."
In addition to merging its Uber Eats app directly into its main app, Uber is also doubling its food delivery service. It is rolling out a new reward program for frequent food delivery customers, in which they can earn redeemable points every time they take a Uber ride or receive Uber Eats.
Uber also announces allergy-friendly filters for Uber Eats, so people with allergies or dietary restrictions can be sure to avoid certain foods in their order. If you now choose a dish, you can communicate your allergy or dietary restrictions to restaurants via the app. Finally, Uber collaborates with the famous chef Rachael Ray to create a new & # 39; virtual restaurant & # 39; launch that is only available on Uber Eats. But Ray's food is only available in 10 cities for 10 weeks.
Uber updates its app for drivers with a & # 39; profit estimator & # 39; to help drivers keep track of their money. Uber says it wants to give drivers more information so that they can better understand what they can reasonably expect to earn – even before they make their first ride.
Uber also adds a & # 39; heat map & # 39; highlighting areas where more drivers are requesting rides, and better predictions when drivers can expect a ride request. And for drivers who are annoyed by dropping off a passenger in areas where there is less demand, Uber introduces a filter & # 39; Back to occupied area & # 39 ;. If a driver completes a ride in a quiet environment, he can enable this to filter travel requests back in the direction of his choice.
Oof! That's a lot of things. Peter Deng, Uber & # 39; s head of the rider product, said the new app "becomes the canvas" while Uber wants to grow its business into new businesses and lines of revenue. That means that in the future Uber's app will focus on reward programs & subscriptions, subscriptions and other benefits.
"We can help you save money," Deng said. "And we can help remove this paradox of choice:" What should I do now? "