Uber puts a Beacon in its cars for easier pick-ups
Spotting your Uber is about to become easier, with the ride-sharing firm set to roll-out its new Beacon feature. The Beacon is an LED light in the shape of the Uber logo that attaches to the inside of a windshield and glows in a color that the rider chooses.
If the concept sounds familiar, it's likely because Lyft announced a similar feature, called the Amp, last month. Whereas the Amp is being limited to only five or six colors as it is rolled out, though, Uber riders will be able to select from what the firm calls "an endless number of colors."
Riders will select the color they want to be displayed from within the Uber app as they are booking a ride. The Beacon will then take on the color chosen, making it easier for riders to identify their Uber as it arrives at the agreed pick-up location. As Uber points out, the feature will be especially useful when waiting for a ride in a busy area.
In addition to displaying single colors, it will be possible to set up the Beacon with customized color palettes and animation styles, which could be used for celebrating special events or holidays, such as pulsing green for St. Patrick's Day or a rainbow for gay pride events.
The device can apparently be installed by Uber drivers in a matter of minutes and removed in seconds. It is powered by a battery that should last for several shifts before needing to be recharged, meaning there are no trailing cables, and it connects to the Uber driver app via Bluetooth.
Uber piloted the concept in Seattle last year under the guise of SPOT and says it reduced both cancellation rates and the need for riders and drivers to contact one another. The company will begin rolling out the Beacon tomorrow in the US cities of Miami, Denver and Nashville, as well as in Newcastle, UK. The roll-out will be expanded to more cities around the world next year with a view to the device becoming a standard feature of every Uber.