Sept. 26 (UPI) -- Uber announced a series of safety updates to its app on Thursday including measures for riders to ensure a driver's identity and new methods to report issues during a trip.
The company plans to introduce an optional PIN system that will allow riders to request a four-digit code that they will read aloud to the driver who must enter it on their phone correctly before the ride can begin.
Riders are currently instructed to verify an Uber vehicle's model and license plate number to determine if it is the correct car.
Director of Product Management Sachin Kansal said the company also is developing ultrasound technology that will allow rider's and driver's phones to communicate to perform the verification automatically.
Additionally, the company will expand its driver verification protocol -- which already requires them to periodically take photos of themselves -- by requiring that they blink, smile or turn their heads in the photos.
Uber also plans to introduce new features to the app's safety toolkit that will allow riders to report issues and concerns in real-time.
"The core principle for us here is, underreporting is a big issue in every industry and we want to be able to help with that," Kansal said. "If a user has a bad experience, we want to hear about that."
Uber has plans to allow limited access to text-to-911 in cities that allow it, which will give riders the ability to transmit details including the car's make, model, location and license plate to authorities with an automated message.