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Uber to Provide Emergency Response Service in South Africa

By Bloomberg 19 October 2018
Caption
The Uber Technologies Inc. application icon seen in an arranged photograph taken in Bangkok, Thailand, on Friday, March 9, 2018. Grab, the dominant ride-hailing service in Southeast Asia, is close to finalizing a deal to acquire Uber's business in the region and may sign a deal this week or next, according to people familiar with the matter. Photographer: Brent Lewin/Bloomberg

Uber Technologies Inc. is teaming up with a South African firm to enable customers and drivers in the country to use the app to summon medical and police assistance.

The service will be provided by Iceplus, a Durban-based company that’s developed an app to access armed response and other forms of emergency help. The product will be incorporated into the Uber app, providing an extra layer of security in a country with one of the world’s worst crime rates.

“We are in roll-out mode at the moment, after about six to eight months of developing a number of new security measures on the app,” Sachin Kansal, head of Uber’s product management, said in an interview in Johannesburg on Friday. “Other security measures include aspects such as data security to protect against any information breaches by hackers or others.” The creation of Uber has often resulted in clashes with more traditional taxi operators in South African and around the world. The company plans to extend the security technology globally.

“We are focused on increasing safety features all the time,” Kamal said. “We hope that the rest of the industry will follow as well.” DM

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