What you need to know

  • Uber is launching its RideCheck feature for everyone in the United States.
  • RideCheck uses your smartphone to automatically detect accidents or unusually long stops.
  • Machine learning is used to avoid false positives with the detection.

Uber is rolling out a new feature for all of its users in the United States with the hope of keeping everyone — riders and drivers — as safe as possible. The feature is called "RideCheck", and following a testing phase that began last year, it's now ready for the limelight.

RideCheck uses a combination of your phone's accelerometer, gyroscope, and GPS to detect if anything unusual happens during a trip, such as an accident, crash, or a long period of time when the car has stopped moving. If RideCheck determines that something is up, both the rider and driver will get an alert on the Uber app making sure everything's alright. You can dismiss the alert, or use it to call 911 and Uber's own safety hotline.

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You don't need to enable RideCheck in order for it to work, and it'll rely on the driver's phone's sensors seeing as how they tend to have the Uber app open more often than passengers. Uber is also using machine learning to help RideCheck get better over time to cut down on false detections.

While RideCheck is only widely available in the U.S. right now, Uber is planning on expanding it to more countries in the near future.

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