Are you my Uber?
The technology company (often mistaken for a transportation company) is no stranger to this confusion. As their service grows, and grows and grows, Uber realizes that users in busy urban environments will likely see a number of Ubers at any given intersection, leaving riders unsure which is theirs.
While the Uber app provides riders with a driver picture, a car picture, a car description, and a license plate number, it's not always so simple, especially in San Francisco because so many of them are Priuses.
In order to prevent frustration — and yes, the time-consuming human interaction of asking a driver if they're expecting you — Uber is testing a color-changing windshield bar for their drivers' vehicles.
The company announced the initiative, which starts in Seattle, on its blog. They're calling the system SPOT and are already glowing that "when riders and drivers can easily find each other, we’re able to trim down wait times, which is a win for everyone." As the company explains:
When a rider requests a trip and is matched with a SPOT-enabled driver, the rider will be asked to select a color in the app while waiting. The rider can even light up their phone screen by pressing and holding on the color to help the driver quickly identify them. When the driver arrives, the SPOT device on his or her windshield will glow in the rider’s chosen color.
Yep, this ought to keep you from getting in a stranger's car. Wait.
Well, it only gets more confusing from here on out, thinks Uber CEO Travis Kalanick. "If you imagine you're on top of one of these skyscrapers and looking down at all the cars," the Business Times quotes him a recent speech he gave, "we want all those cars to be Ubers because if they were, the transportation system would be more efficient. That's how we think about it."
In that case, the company is going to need a lot more colors.
Related: Taxis May Be Bouncing Back Despite Competition From Uber And Lyft