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Uber's colorful new beacon gadget helps avoid confusion



Uber presents an updated version of his colorful beacon gadget, according to a message from the Federal Communications Commission.

The digital display should sit on the dashboard of the car and glow in a particular color, which the drivers selected in the app to find the right car in crowded situations. The Beacon's digital display also reminds the driver to put on the seatbelt, gently close the car doors and leave the curb. The original Beacon was first introduced in 2016.

This is how Uber describes it:

It's a hardware device that helps you find your driver through satellite and sensor technologies, as well as with colors that are synchronized with the driver app. In addition, Beacon has a screen that communicates with your driver and reminds him to wear his seatbelt and leave the curb. The device is paired with your phone via Bluetooth and can be installed on your dashboard.

The device has a magnetic base to attach it to the dashboard and connects to the car's power outlet via a USB cable. The device can connect to a driver's phone via Bluetooth and collects data such as GNSS, IMU and barometer data to "improve driver and driver experience, especially the accuracy of pick-up and drop-off points," the company said.

Selected Uber drivers will receive the new Beacon, according to the Uber website, from the beginning of November. The device will be sent to drivers rated Platinum and Diamond in Uber Pro, the company's driver rewards program. Only drivers who operate in Chicago, Denver, Las Vegas and Washington DC are eligible to enter. However, Uber plans to make the beacon available soon in other cities.

"Building on the original generation of beacon hardware, we are pleased to introduce this updated version of a handful of communities we serve," a spokesperson said in a statement. "We're always looking for more ways to make Uber's experience more comfortable." Attach them to the inside of their windshield, which the driver can control to better identify their riders. Uber noted that Spot reduced the need for drivers and drivers to contact each other and lowered cancellation rates at difficult pickup locations.

Also, the first beacon needed updating, as it was designed to look like Uber's old "bit" logo, which was removed in late 2018. Now it is more akin to the amp devices used by Lyft drivers with its dual-sided digital display.

Uber has optimized its main product, the app, over the last few months to enhance seamless collection and return. The company has recently introduced a unique four-digit PIN verification system to ensure that drivers do not get into the wrong vehicle. When you log in, you need to pronounce your PIN to your driver before he or she can begin the journey.

Uber is also developing a new technology that uses ultrasound waves to automatically check if you're in the right car. A PIN is not required. The driver's phone sends this ultrasound signal to the driver's phone to automatically verify the unique PIN. The company has announced that the technology should be operational by the end of 2019.


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