Whether you’ve just stepped off a flight, or heading home after work, we all want to find our Uber as quickly as possible. And for drivers—who may do dozens of trips a day—every minute counts. With millions of Uber rides happening every day in over 450 cities globally, we’re focused on creating a seamless pickup experience everywhere for riders and drivers alike.
In our new rider app announced last month, we often suggest the best possible pickup point. And while we’re continuing to explore more in-app improvements for the pickup experience, software is only a piece of the puzzle. Addressing this complex problem can also include hardware integrated into the Uber experience.
That’s why today, we’re excited to unveil Uber Beacon, a device that goes on a driver’s windshield and uses color-pairing technology to help drivers and riders more quickly connect at night, particularly at crowded venues. With this technology, riders can personalize their pickup by selecting from an endless number of colors for the Beacon to glow on their driver’s vehicle. And it’s instantly recognizable with the same design as the rider app icon.
Last year in Seattle, we pioneered this concept through our SPOT pilot, and found it reduced the need for riders and drivers to contact one another and lowered cancellation rates in historically tricky pickup locations. Based on this feedback, we’ve been exploring additional ways to use our color-pairing technology in hardware to improve both the rider and driver experience.
Enter Uber Beacon, designed for simplicity and scalability. Drivers can install it themselves within minutes and then remove it in seconds. And with a powerful battery and Bluetooth connection to our driver app, it can last several evenings without charge, while keeping the dashboard cable-free. And our technology also allows for customized color palettes and animation styles to celebrate events and holidays —imagine Beacon pulsing St. Patrick’s Day green or colorful rainbows all weekend for Pride.
Starting tomorrow, we’ll be rolling out Uber Beacon in select cities including Miami, Denver, Nashville and Newcastle (UK). We’ll be distributing devices to drivers at community events in the coming days to make sure on one of our busiest nights—New Year’s Eve—rides are as smooth as possible.
Our goal is to make Beacons the new standard for the Uber experience, so in 2017 we’ll be expanding Uber Beacon to more cities across the world. Stay tuned for updates!