Webinar on ‘Technology and Safety in Transport’ Participants urge use of technology to ensure virus-free mobility of commuters

Staff Reporter

In order to talk about the importance of technology in transport safety in today’s world and the new meaning attached to the idea of safety, a global virtual webinar titled ‘Tech for Transport Safety’ was organized by Uber’s Ignite series.

The participants of the webinar discussed that with COVID-19 impacting people’s lifestyle and changing the order of things, the transport sector witnessed a major overturn in 2020.
First there was a decline in global mobility owing to lockdowns, but when cities re-opened and travel resumed, transport services such as ride-hailing apps adapted their models to ensure protection of commuters from virus hazards.

The discussion aimed at highlighting the need for adapting to better technology for higher safety standards by the transport sector in various countries.

It comprised a panel of respected individuals holding esteemed positions in the global transport sector, including Karl Jeanbart, COO of Derq, Naif Bin Hwaii from the Transport General Authority of Saudi Arabia, Rebecca Payne, Senior Product Manager at Uber, Ali El Atrash, Co-Founder and COO of Trella, Harj Dhaliwal, Managing Director of Virgin Hyperloop, and Gary West from General Motors Africa and the Middle East. While earlier the focus of the transport sector had been on road and passenger safety, the Covid-19 pandemic brought along another dimension to safety risks.

Mobility-on-demand has become a household concept in many countries following the growth of ride-hailing services across the world. Ride-hailing apps are essentially built on the efficiency of their technology and they aim to constantly innovate this technology to improve the user experience, online and offline.

In digital apps there are features enabling safety of both the riders and drivers, which have been fundamental to their business. Uber, for example, offers in-built features such as real-time ID check, trusted contacts, and phone number anonym ization, along with a safety toolkit consisting of an emergency button. These apps have long ensured protection of both drivers and passengers from instances of harassment or other untoward incidents.

The use of technology in guaranteeing safety has proved to be crucial during the pandemic. The use of facial recognition technology to verify the passenger or driver is wearing a mask during the ride or not, is a good example of this.

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