Uber Technologies Inc. (NYSE: UBER) is making big changes to its app with a huge redesign. The company announced a slew of new features that will be added to its app at an event in San Francisco. Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi called the redesign a step toward creating “an operating system for daily life.”
Uber says the changes will be prominent as soon as a user opens the app. The company is now testing two different homescreens to replace the current jump to the map screen of Uber’s flagship app. On the first one, users will see two boxes on the homescreen: one that says “get a ride” and the other that says “order food” for UberEats. On the other, there are “rides” and “eats” tabs on the bottom of the familiar map and destination search bar.
Uber is testing both versions to see which one works best. The company has also left open the possibility of adding other services in the future. Uber hopes that combining its ride-hailing and food delivery apps will boost utilization of its delivery service. The company also plans to roll out a new rewards program for frequent food delivery customers.
Uber is also adding new safety features to the app. Riders will now be able to report safety incidents during the ride, and Uber’s safety team will follow up after the trip. Uber will also let users text 911 in cities and counties that support the technology, automatically including the make, model, license plate number, and location of the vehicle in the text.
Uber is also adding the ability to request a unique four-digit PIN number to make sure riders are getting in the car they ordered. The user will need to say the PIN out loud to the driver before he or she can start the ride. A new technology to use ultrasound waves to automatically verify riders and drivers via smartphone is currently in the works. Sachin Kansal, head of safety product for Uber, says that technology should be ready to roll out in a few months.