I prefer to read the Sunday news paper in a relaxed mood. But today somehow, the mood went off after looking at the headlines. Another painful incident for the capital of Delhi, making our chances high to be the rape capital of the world. All this incident that happened yesterday night, supposedly in a car service registered with Uber Delhi.
Uber service relies of the GPS on iPhone – Is it safe? Image Credits:Uber
The Uber cab service is available across 11 cities in India, and surprisingly Uber has no clear policy on how they scrutinise the drivers in India. For those who are not familiar on how Uber works, you must see this video “How Uber Works”. Uber supposedly provides a free iPhone to all its drives, and the total trip is linked with the app supported by GPS on the iPhone (as one can see in the video).
This is where the loophole is. Uber only relies on a GPS installed on the driver’s phone to track their whereabouts. In this case the driver has allegedly switched off the phone and managed to go off the grid.
There are other cab services in India like Meru Cabs, which rely on a standalone onboard GPS installed on the car. This is not only used to track the speed of the car, but also used to know the whereabouts of the car, if its goes off the track. The Meru mobile app, also comes with a Panic button, for its users to notify their location to friends and family.
Such system, is clearly lacking in Uber, where there are is no stand along GPS, that is tamper proof. The driver can any time comfortably switch off the phone, which disables the tracking. Such loop holes, in such an expensive and much hyped service makes me feel uncomfortable. Such aspects should be clearly looked in to by Uber, atleast in countries like India, where there are many such incidents of drivers taking advantage of the female passengers.
There are no set rules also by the city police or transportation authorities mandating stand alone GPS devices, with tracking and alerting systems for the cab services and cab rental guys. I strongly think, time has come for authorities to mandate such systems, that are also linked to the monitoring systems of the city police so that timely action can be taken up.
Please give your views!