Uber will open its first technology development center in Brazil

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This article was written and published in Spanish and has been translated into English via Google Translate. Click here to read the original article.

Uber announced Friday that it will open its first technology development center in Latin America at the end of 2018.

The center will develop technology focused on improving the safety of users and drivers.

Sao Paulo is where more Uber trips are made than anywhere else in the world. In addition, Brazil is the second strongest national market for Uber after the United States. In the last four years, one billion trips have been made in this country.

The private transportation company will invest 64 million dollars over the next five years in its new office. Its main objective will be to improve the safety of its users and drivers, for which it will have about 150 technology specialists.

One of their plans is to include the option to accept cash payments. Sachin Kansal, director of security products at Uber, said in an interview with Reuters:

“It is extremely important for us to support the cash. There is a certain segment of society that does not have access to credit cards and that is also the segment of society that probably needs more convenient and reliable transportation.”

Since Dara Khosrowshahi took over as CEO of Uber a year ago, he has made safety a priority for the company, but not all markets behave in the same way.

In the United States and other developed markets, they have focused on passenger safety. However, in emerging markets such as Brazil or Mexico, accepting cash payments can be a double-edged sword for drivers, as they become susceptible to theft.

According to Kansal, the new tools will help confirm the identity of users without credit cards. One of these methods, presented last year after the attacks on drivers increased, requires the Brazilian equivalent of a social security number so that the passenger can pay in cash.

In addition, the executive added, automatic learning is used to block trips that are considered risky.

Regarding the option that allows drivers and passengers to share their locations in real time with their contacts, Kansal highlighted that the percentage of users that use this feature is in the “unique high digits”, adding:

“Drivers are using it more than passengers around the world, but the magnitude of that difference in Latin America is actually quite high.

In countries like Mexico, security has become very important after cases such as the femicide of Mariana Fuentes. In October of 2017, an Uber driver was arrested in Puebla as the alleged perpetrator of the murder of the student, as the belongings and an identification of the girl were found at the driver’s house.”

Among its new measures, the private transport company has enabled the famous panic button. In this way, users can make direct calls to 911 from the app if they consider that they run some kind of danger. It would not be surprising if similar functions are implemented in Brazil.

This article was written and published in Spanish and has been translated into English via Google Translate. Click here to read the original article.

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Simon Baker is the Founder and Executive Chairman of Online Marketplaces and Property Portal Watch. Involved with property portals for 15 years, he’s a well-recognized expert and industry consultant.
As former CEO/MD of the REA Group for 8 years, Simon led the group to its current market-leading position. When he joined REA Group in 2001, it had $4m in revenues, $6m in losses and an $8m market cap.
By 2008, the company presided over $155m in revenues, $35m in EBITDA and enjoyed a peak market cap of $1b. Simon is currently Chairman of the Mitula Group and Real Estate Investar and a serial portal founder and, investor.