Uber just announced a new feature intended to make it easier for drivers to find you when you’re getting picked up from a busy place like the mall or airport.
Live Location Sharing will let your driver see your exact whereabouts in relation to the pickup spot. “That way, your driver knows you’re right there—or walking around the corner—to meet them,” Uber’s Nundu Janakiram wrote in a blog post.
This is an optional feature; to enable it, tap the gray location icon on the bottom-right corner of the map. When that icon turns blue, you’re sharing your location. The app will stop sharing your location with your driver “once your ride has been started and you’re in the car,” an Uber spokeswoman told PCMag. Disable the feature at any time via the app’s privacy settings, or by tapping the icon on your map again.
Uber is also expanding its use of color-pairing Beacons—a visual cue for cars designed to help riders find their driver—to three new cities: New York City, San Francisco, and Chicago. Uber first introduced this feature last year in Miami, Denver, Nashville, and Newcastle in the UK.
Shaped like the Uber logo, the Beacon device “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,” Uber’s Nikhil Goel and John Badalamenti explained in a blog post last year. When you’re matched with a driver with a Beacon, you can pick “from an endless number of colors” for it to glow. When you see a car pull up with an Uber logo glowing in your preferred color, you’ll know it’s your ride.
Uber also redesigned the Request for a Guest feature it rolled out in June to make it easier to use. The feature lets you request a ride for someone else from the Uber app. Before, you had to move your pin away from your location to see the Request for a Guest prompt. Now, you can simply tap “Where to?” like you normally would, then choose who’s riding.
Meanwhile, thanks to a new deal between Uber and Volvo, a lot more self-driving cars will be on the road in the future. Uber has agreed to buy “tens of thousands of autonomous driving compatible base” vehicles from Volvo between 2019 and 2021, the companies announced. Uber plans to add its own self-driving technology to these base vehicles, making them fully autonomous or capable of operating without a human in the front seat.
“This new agreement puts us on a path towards mass produced self-driving vehicles at scale,” Uber’s Head of Auto Alliances Jeff Miller said in a statement.