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Uber to allow ride booking without smartphone: Report


Uber is building technologies that will ensure users to book a ride in India with low bandwidth connectivity or even without smartphones. The ride-hailing company is also working on technologies that will make estimated time arrival (ETZ) more accurate despite constant changes to the infrastructure and traffic bottlenecks along making the pricing more stable.

The world’s highest-valued startup has been working on several India specific innovations.

“We are making a big investment in India which could also help other markets with similar conditions… Many areas get 3G or 2G connectivity or even less than that. How do you make it work there, this is an android dominant market and many of the phones are 2012 or older, some folks don’t have a smartphone but they should be able to get an Uber too,” said Daniel Graf, vice-president and global head of product at Uber talking to ET.

He added that the company, which already has 1,000 people In India, is making a “strong commitment” to grow the talent in India.

Uber has also been working to upgrade the safety feature, which has been one of the biggest concerns for both the company and the riders. It has introduced features that can sense if a driver has not mounted the phone and is holding it in his hand. “If the driver has accelerated or braked too aggressively, we can detect that too with the sensors,” said Graf.

In August last year, rival Uber also introduced a ‘Dial an Uber’ feature allowing users in select cities to book cabs without the app. The company’s arch-rival in India Ola had introduced offline booking feature on its mobile app in October 2016.

Months after Ola introduced its “connected platform” called Ola Play, Uber has been piloting its own infotainment system.

Last week, Uber announced that it will not levy dynamic or surge pricing, where fares are raised when demand is higher than the available cabs, during the odd-even days.


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