The Indian version of Uber’s app will feature a panic button that will notify police should there be an emergency. India will pick up the app prior to the rest of the world due to both the December rape accusation out of New Dehli and the Mumbai Transportation Department’s push for stronger protection for riders.
There is the glaring question of given the nature of Uber’s service, why wasn’t there a feature like this in the app from the beginning. Incidents of sexual assault, robbery, and murder occurring in cabs have been documented even prior to Uber’s founding.
The company’s general manager over Mumbai did explain why there weren’t physical panic buttons (number four in the list) in a statement and summed it up to mechanical wear and tear and a communication problem from the car to law enforcement.
Uber also says that it wouldn’t mind having panic buttons installed in Uber cars given that there is only one, the button goes straight to police, it’s up to the driver to install it.
Another security feature called “Safety Net” include allowing up to five friends and family members to monitor a passenger’s route in real time. It looks to be useful should anything happen along that route.
The newer security features will hit the Indian market February 11th with a global release being announced at a later date.