Ridesharing companies and their drivers provide a convenient answer to some of the 21st century’s most pressing transport problems. With millions of worldwide users, Uber, Lyft, DiDi and their rivals provide a valuable service, but the disruptive nature of this service can present additional challenges relating to unprofessional, and even criminal behavior from a small minority of drivers. By investing in drive recording technology, ridesharing operators are far better equipped to protect passengers, drivers, and their reputation.
Like so many other disruptive technologies, it’s hard to imagine a world without ridesharing and ride-hailing companies like Uber. Founded in 2009, Uber has grown to account for a staggering 5.23 billion rides globally in 2018, with the company now operating in nearly 800 towns and cities worldwide. For millions of city-dwellers, Uber and its competitors have become a popular choice for commuters, beating more traditional transportation options in terms of convenience, value and integration with our increasingly digitized lives.
Yet the nature of the ridesharing business model means that millions of us end up in close proximity with a complete stranger on a daily basis, meeting within the confined space of a vehicle, often alone, at night, or in quieter parts of town. While the vast majority of rideshare trips pose absolutely no threat, the potential for things to go wrong remains a concern.
Straight to Video
While similar problems could potentially occur in taxis and other forms of public transport, the less regulated licensing regime for rideshare drivers usually results in increased scrutiny when an incident occurs. Moreover, the disruptive and sometimes controversial nature of ridesharing means that a firm’s reputation is can be somewhat fragile. For these reasons ridesharing companies are increasingly focused on safeguarding passengers and drivers.
The introduction of fleet-ready drive recorders that include front and rear-facing cameras is a logical step in the right direction, offering the ability to simultaneously record both the road ahead and what happens inside the vehicle – a major advantage when it comes to ensuring basic customer and employee safety.
Front-facing cameras provide footage that proves where the car went, how it was driven, and any incidents that may have happened while on the road. In the event of a traffic incident, it can shed light on which driver was at fault, accelerating insurance claim procedures and helping eliminate false claims.
The technology is also improving. Modern drive recorders and dash cams can now integrate HDR-capable sensors that capture improved detail in darker cabin interiors, while features like infrared lighting offer a solution to night-time rides. Interior footage shows how drivers and passengers interact, and can capture any disagreements, arguments and even possible assaults. Where audio recording is permitted (many countries outside the US for example), the camera can record cases of verbal abuse – clarifying disputes about routes, destinations, payments, or ratings.
In all cases, the presence of a drive recorder helps improve driver and rider behavior, deterring the likelihood of abusive, violent, or socially unacceptable behavior.
Protected by the Cloud
Cloud-connected drive recorders are increasingly becoming the norm, combining the features of regular dash cams with real-time monitoring and feedback to fleet managers via 4G connectivity and GPS data. But it doesn’t stop there. More sophisticated drive recording devices open up new ways to improve operational efficiency. For example, CAN Bus data can provide useful information to help improve routing and efficiency, helping to reduce fuel costs for example while also improving service.
For ridesharing companies, dash cams offer an affordable and reliable way to protect drivers, riders, and their own reputation. It’s easy to see how investment in dash cams is encouraging higher operational and safety standards in their vehicles, providing an effective tool for enforcing policy and investigating complaints.
VIA recently launched the VIA Mobile360 D700 Drive Recorder, a full-featured, compact dual camera 1080p driver recorder that is available with custom software support and seamless cloud integration. The unobtrusive and compact design includes GPS support with live tracking using a customizable app, a 3-axis G-sensor and four infra-red LEDs that ensure a clear video stream of the vehicle’s interior at all times. In short, the VIA Mobile360 D700 Drive Recorder is highly suited for deployment in ridesharing vehicles.
Learn more about the VIA Mobile360 D700 Drive Recorder here.
You can also watch this short introductory video:
Note: This article is part of a series of pieces about smart transportation trends that we have recently published on the VIA website. The content has been amended in places.