This move comes in response to some controversy: In May, a male Didi driver allegedly murdered a female passenger
Uber’s arch-rival in China on Thursday rolled out a raft of new safety features. Didi’s app now has an SOS button for passengers that find themselves in a bad situation with their drivers.
The SOS button includes real-time uploading of the sound recording from the user’s phone, the company said.
The startup was embroiled in controversy in May when a male driver allegedly murdered a female passenger. Since then, the man has been apprehended by police.
Didi, which last month raised $7.3 billion in a funding round, is the country’s top transportation app. The new safety features are aimed at people taking a ride in strangers’ cars in Didi’s UberX-style service.
Aside from the SOS, Didi’s app has been refreshed with real-time and automated itinerary sharing so a buddy or family member can keep an eye on your route, as well as an anti-stalking feature that masks the passenger’s and driver’s phone numbers.
Behind the scenes, Didi is also adding voice and facial recognition for all its drivers so as to ensure that the right person is signed into the app and driving the vehicle. Plus, the company is starting to do repeated background checks on both the drivers and the cars they drive via government and third-party databases.
Uber does not offer an SOS button in China but it does in India, following a sexual assault on a passenger by an Uber driver.
Didi has nearly 300 million registered users and 15 million signed up drivers.
This post was originally published on Tech in Asia.