When summoning an Uber, it’s easy to assume that any car wielding the company’s logo is there to pick you up. Except a lot of the time, the car was ordered by someone else, and getting into the wrong Uber can end in no shortage of weird, embarrassing and even hostile situations.
To streamline the process of identifying the right Uber on a darkened street, the company on Thursday announced that it’s starting to equip cars with “Beacons,” or bluetooth-enabled devices meant to display which cars belongs to whom. As part of Uber’s new app, riders can select a color to display on their driver’s Beacon device, which they can use to pinpoint their ride. Conveniently, all Beacons are fashioned after the Uber logo and affixed to a car's windshield. It’s a way of saving you the shame of barging into an Uber that has nothing to do with your 3 AM ride home from the bar.
The feature is being tested in four cities, including Miami, Denver, Nashville and Newcastle in the United Kingdom. It’s a similar move to what Uber initiated in Seattle last year, when the company piloted its Spot program, which used illuminated windshield displays to connect customers with drivers. The company maintains that Spot was successful in lowering cancellation rates in notoriously tricky times of the evening, and in busy areas prone to bad communication between customers and drivers. Cars will also be displayed in the app's GPS according to the color you’ve selected. So if your favorite color is green, your car will be appear as a green car in the map. It’s that simple.
It’s certainly nice that the ride-share conglomerate wants to make it even easier to find your ride home late at night. And in an even more convenient note, the company has also shared its sage wisdom on how to not get banned from using the service, which actually isn’t that hard if you’re a decent human being.
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Sam Blum is a News Staff Writer for Thrillist. He's also a martial arts and music nerd who appreciates a fine sandwich and cute dogs. Find his clips in The Guardian, Rolling Stone, The A.V. Club and Vice. He's on Twitter @Blumnessmonster.