Uber has made several new upgrades to its Uber Driver App with plans to significantly expand verification of rider identities next year.

Writing in a blog post, CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, said the company first unveiled the features at an event in Los Angeles on Monday, which are designed to make earning on Uber safer and fairer.

Among the highlights, Uber said is planning to significantly expand verification of rider identities to compare rider account details against trusted data sources or an ID document.

“Over time, we will inform drivers whether they’re picking up a verified rider, so they can have more peace of mind before accepting a trip request. This is on top of our existing verification process for riders who use certain anonymous payment methods,” Khosrowshahi said.

It is also expanding its ‘Record my Ride’ feature across the US which allows drivers to record video of trips using their smartphone’s front-facing camera, without the need to invest in a separate dashcam. This has been built similar to an in-app audio recording feature rolled out earlier this year, which means only the driver has access to encrypted and stored recordings.

Using demand heatmaps

A new integration with Android Auto means drivers using Android will be able to see demand heatmaps, accept trips, and use on-screen navigation directly from their car dashboard for enhanced safety and convenience.

In addition, Uber said is aiming to solve one of the biggest challenges faced by couriers, which is parking. To do this, it has a added a tool in the app that shows couriers free parking nearby. For couriers that need an exact location of where the customer has requested food be dropped off, there will be map labels that specify the exact door and sometimes even photos of the building, Uber said.

Among further enhancements, the firm said it has redesigned trip requests with clearer trip information, improved map clarity and real-time navigation feedback. Significantly, it has also made changes to the process a driver or courier must go through to appeal a decision to block someone from accessing their Uber account

“We know that to be the best platform for flexible work, we must also be the fairest. Blocking someone from accessing their Uber account is one of the most serious decisions we can make—and one of the most distressing moments that a driver or courier can experience,” Khosrowshahi said.

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