Ola launches ‘Guardian’ feature to improve customer safety during rides

The feature, which is now live across 16 cities in India, uses real-time data from Ola rides to automatically detect irregular trip activity.
Ola launches ‘Guardian’ feature to improve customer safety during rides
Ola launches ‘Guardian’ feature to improve customer safety during rides

In a bid to make travelling by Ola safer, homegrown cab hailing major is rolling out an AI-enabled safety feature called ‘Guardian’. After running a pilot across multiple cities in India and international markets, the ‘Guardian’ feature is going live in 16 Indian cities as well as Perth in Australia.

The ‘Guardian’ feature uses real-time data from rides to automatically detect irregular trip activity, including prolonged stops and unexpected route deviations. These alerts are flagged off in real-time to Ola’s dedicated 24x7 Safety Response Team, who immediately reach out to customers and drivers to confirm if they’re safe and offer on-the-call assistance until ride completion.

In India, this feature in now live in Bengaluru, Mumbai, Pune, Chennai, Hyderabad, Coimbatore, Trichy, among others. Ola aims to take Guardian to more cities in the coming quarter.

Ola said in a statement that customers can also alert police authorities and their loved ones in parallel, through the Emergency button on the app. “Ola Guardian is built on artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities on the Ola platform which enables it to continuously learn and evolve from millions of data points every single day, to improve risk signalling and instant resolution.” The company said.

There have been several instances in the country where riders of cab hailing companies such as Ola and Uber faced harassment from drivers. There have also been some cases of rape and murder.

“We are focused on developing innovations that place customer safety at the heart of platform experience. ‘Guardian’ brings together the precision of Artificial Intelligence with the assurance of human intervention, enabling a uniform and safe mobility experience across the markets we operate in. We are committed to further innovating on key areas like safety, consumer and partner experience in our mission to build mobility for a billion people,” Arun Srinivas, Chief Sales & Marketing Officer, Ola, said in a statement.

Ola also claims to conduct mandatory verification through stringent criminal records checks as well as mandatory online training for drivers that includes modules like customer service and etiquette, platform usage, partner support, defensive driving amongst others.

To prevent driver impersonation Ola has put in place a facial recognition system in place, which prompts on-duty drivers to upload a selfie and authenticate themselves multiple times in between rides. This feature is live across India and is also being piloted in various international markets.

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