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Safety Rests on Both Uber and Riders, Says Top Executive

The two-year safety review contains almost 2,936 reports pertaining to sexual assault globally that Uber received in 2017 and 3,045 it received in 2018

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Uber, bengaluru
Photo shows an exterior view of the headquarters of Uber in San Francisco. (VOA)

BY KRISHNA SINHACHAUDHURY 

The safety of the riders during Uber trips is a joint responsibility, a top company official said on Thursday, as driver-related bad incidents grew significantly in India in recent times.

“We do have exact data of drivers who cancel trips in India. If we find out that a driver is excessively cancelling rides, we take action on him. We recommend users to report such incidents immediately as the safety of our platform is a joint responsibility,” Sachin Kansal, Senior Director of Global Safety Products, Uber, told IANS here.

“For the Uber app to work, you need network connectivity. However, there are some features within our ecosystem that do work without connectivity. For example if you’re already in the car and you want to turn the audio-recording feature, that works. But the uploading part will not function,” Kansal said when asked how the company will ensure if there’s a ride irregularity amid lack of connectivity.

Uber would pilot audio recording as a pioneering feature in the Indian market later this year. The in-ride audio recording feature is currently available in Brazil and Mexico.

Uber
Uber app. Pixabay

“Over the past three years, we have introduced several features to enhance safety standards on our platform. Today, we raise the bar again as we work towards introducing audio recording in India as a pilot this year and roll-out the ‘RideCheck’ feature for long stop and midway drop-offs,” Kansal noted.

The global ride hailing giant announced three safety features for the country — PIN verification, “RideCheck” and in-ride audio recording.

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The safety features announced on the platform will be applicable to all the Uber services including Uber Moto and Uber Auto.

Uber in December released its first safety review which contains thousands of sexual assault reports globally. The company also revealed the changes it was making to make rides safer for its passengers and drivers.

The two-year safety review contains almost 2,936 reports pertaining to sexual assault globally that Uber received in 2017 and 3,045 it received in 2018. (IANS)

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Electric Vehicle Maker Tesla Denies Driver Complaints of Sudden Unintended Acceleration: Report

Last year on a Chinese couple driving their Tesla into a river and claiming it accelerated on its own

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Tesla logo
A Tesla logo is seen in Los Angeles, California. VOA

Electric vehicle (EV) maker Tesla dismissed the complaints that its electric vehicles may suddenly accelerate on their own, calling it completely false.

127 customers filed a petition complaining about Tesla automobiles accelerating all of a sudden and called for a federal defect investigation of the matter.

“This petition is completely false and was brought by a Tesla short-seller. We investigate every single incident where the driver alleges to us that their vehicle accelerated contrary to their input, and in every case where we had the vehicle’s data, we confirmed that the car operated as designed,” the company said in a statement on Monday.

Tesla
Electric vehicle maker Tesla has started rolling out holiday updates, including a “full self-driving sneak preview”, teased by CEO Elon Musk last week. Pixabay

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) last week said that it is looking into claims that Tesla vehicles have a defect leading to ‘sudden unintended acceleration’ after receiving a petition.

“We are transparent with NHTSA, and routinely review customer complaints of unintended acceleration with them. Over the past several years, we discussed with NHTSA the majority of the complaints alleged in the petition. In every case we reviewed with them, the data proved the vehicle functioned properly,” the company added.

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According to Electrek, several claims of sudden unintended acceleration involving Tesla vehicles have been made public over the years. The most publicized one involved a South Korean celebrity claiming his Model X accelerated on its own into his garage.

Last year on a Chinese couple driving their Tesla into a river and claiming it accelerated on its own. (IANS)