Introducing Project Beethoven

October 13, 2016 / Manila

Empowerment has a Voice.

In the Philippines, 6 in every 1,000 households have household member who is deaf. While the government encourages employment opportunities for those with disabilities, most people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing still struggle to find work – impacting over 120,000 persons in the Philippines.

That’s why here at Uber, our research team worked closely with deaf and hard-of-hearing partners to better understand the challenges they face and continuously improve their experience on the platform. Today, we’re taking the next step in advocating economic empowerment for deaf and hard-of hearing, and engaging local advocacy and interest groups to help further the cause.

We’re excited to introduce PROJECT BEETHOVEN: app features for deaf and hard-of-hearing partners! In a world where people with disabilities face more challenges in a world designed for the able-bodied, these features make it easier for deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals to earn a flexible income on their own terms.

Here are some of the features we already offer:

Enabling these features in the driver app. We recently added the ability for partners to self-identify as deaf or hard of hearing in the partner app, which unlocks the following features for drivers and their riders.


Flashing trip request. The driver’s app signals a new trip request with a flashing light instead of the usual audio notification, making it easier for partners to notice when there’s a new opportunity to give someone a ride.

gif-fastText-only communication with drivers. The ability to call a deaf or hard-of-hearing partner is turned off for the rider — instead riders are directed to text their driver if they need to communicate with them. Partners who use this setting are less likely to have rides canceled after a failed phone call.


Riders are notified their driver is deaf or hard of hearing. A message appears letting the rider know that their driver is deaf or hard of hearing.

singapore_beethoven_en-route_960x480Additional prompt for rider destination. Once a partner accepts a ride, the rider will be prompted to enter their destination in advance rather than telling the driver and asking them to enter the destination manually. The app can then provide turn-by-turn directions for the driver.

At the end of the day, everyone wants to have an opportunity to provide for themselves, their loved ones, and to be a productive member of society. These updates will hopefully extend more opportunities to deaf and hard-of-hearing Filipinos, while still maintaining the Uber experience riders know and love. We’re excited to bring more great partners onboard, and encourage you to spread the word amongst your community!