Innovation is in our DNA at Uber; we thrive on finding ways to constantly improve and refine our technology to provide safe, reliable rides. Our app connects drivers with riders in ways that were simply impossible six or seven years ago. And we continue to develop this technology to enable new services such as uberPOOL, which allows riders going in the same direction to share the trip. This helps to cut the cost of a ride and reduce congestion overtime.
You may have also heard that Uber’s Advanced Technologies Center (ATC) has built test models of self-driving cars, which we are currently piloting in Pittsburg. While we may be far from the launch of self-driving cars, in the future we believe this technology will mean less congestion, more affordable and accessible transportation, and far fewer lives lost in car accidents. These goals are at the heart of Uber’s mission to make transportation as reliable as running water – everywhere and for everyone.
In addition to planning for the future, we’re also developing our technology for our riders and drivers today:
Every day more than 2 million Uber rides are completed across more than 500 cities across the globe. This means every minute thousands of people are opening the Uber app, requesting rides, and expecting the same convenient, reliable, and safe experience.
Our global team of site reliability engineers (SREs) ensure this reliability, giving riders peace of mind, knowing they will be able to get a ride when they need one most. The SRE team performs regular tests on our technology, even simulating outages to maintain our reliability.
In addition to safety features built into the Uber experience such as the ability to share your journey in real time, 24/7 in-app support, or the use of face recognition software for partner-driver logins, we are constantly looking for ways to use technology to improve safety.
Most recently, we’ve been running a pilot program to verify feedback using smartphone technology. Gyrometers in phones can measure small movements, while GPS and accelerometers show how often a vehicle starts and stops, as well as its overall speed. This means if a rider complains that a driver accelerated too fast and broke too hard, we can review that trip using data. If the feedback is accurate, then we can get in touch with the driver. And if it’s not, we could use the information to make sure a driver’s rating isn’t affected.
This technology can also be applied to limit distracted driving, speeding, and texting while driving. Road safety is a critically important issue in our region and beyond. It’s why Uber is always on the lookout for new ways—from the simple to the sophisticated—to do better.
Strong security starts with a great team. That’s why we have a large and growing group of information security engineers, software developers, and data scientists working under the direction of a Chief Security Officer, Chief Information Security Officer and Managing Privacy Counsel. These teams use both technical and legal means to secure our riders’ and drivers’ information. Here are some examples of the projects and processes we have in place:
USING STRONG ENCRYPTION: When riders push a button to get a ride, they expect their data to be transmitted safely from their phone to Uber and then to a driver. To ensure that’s the case, all data that people send through our app is encrypted before it is sent over the Internet to us. And when riders send us their passwords or a credit card number, we encrypt that data when it is at rest in our systems.
BUILDING SECURE CODE: We have internal security teams that extensively test our products to find and fix software vulnerabilities before they can be exploited, and also work with academics, experts and researchers to identify problems in our systems through a bug bounty program. Through this program, we offer rewards to trusted experts for finding potential weaknesses in our code. This is an industry best practice that many technology companies deploy to make their code more secure.
CONTROLLING AND MONITORING ACCESS TO DATA: Using multiple layers of control over internal access to information, we are continually refining and improving our policies to ensure that people have access to the least amount of data necessary to do their jobs. We also monitor our systems for unauthorized access at all times.
We are excited to continue innovating and finding new ways to better serve our communities, riders, and driver-partners.