Ride-sharing leader Uber has recently announced it would be launching the "Uber Beacon" designed to make pickups less troublesome without having to memorize car license plates. Uber said it would be introducing the color-coded scheme in select US and UK cities -- for now.
Anyone who has used Uber knows one needs to memorize at least a five-digit number to identify the vehicle about to pick him or her up. For some, it has become a skill of necessity. But for others, it is a cumbersome activity -- especially if you have trouble memorizing numbers.
According to iTech Post, the "Beacon" is essentially "glowing, plastic Uber logo" that drivers attach behind windshields. Synced with their smartphones, once they confirm a ride request, their logo will change according to a color chosen by the specific passenger. As it glows brightly inside vehicles, passengers can see it quickly at any time of the day.
Perhaps if there are multiple people who have chosen the same color for their Uber cars would trouble then start, making the possibly-expensive solution a bit half-baked in certain situations. Another would be color-blind passengers who may still need to memorize their cars' plate numbers given their trouble identifying certain colors.
Despite such possible issues, according to The Verge, Uber has "considered ever design detail" such as "Beacon" was not flush with the windshield and it can be customized to correspond to certain events like "Pride Week" or a game victory in the area.
Uber has raised its physical presence with the "Beacon" partly due to leading ride-sharing competitor Lyft unleashing the "Amp" that attaches magnetically to their drivers' dashboards with two LED lights. The LED label shows the passenger's name with a phrase, " Welcome [passenger name]." Uber's approach -- comparatively -- is less public.
The famous ride-sharing app worldwide is no stranger to privacy intrusion. In one case, it has allegedly breached 50,000 drivers' private information using its "God View" mode to track both users and drivers. US Investigators have found Uber New York General Manager Josh Mohrer guilty of using the said "God View" feature -- which is initially illegal -- and had given Uber a fine of $20,000.