Ola introduces ‘Guardian’ safety feature to UK private hire market

Ola, a global ride-hailing platform, has today launched three new safety features that they claim sets new standards for ride-hailing safety in the UK.

The private hire operator is piloting its flagship safety feature in the UK, called ‘Guardian’. The Guardian feature, developed by Ola, uses machine learning to automatically detect irregular vehicle activity, including prolonged stops and unexpected route deviations.

This is then flagged in real time to a dedicated safety response team who will contact the rider and driver to confirm they are both safe. Built on machine learning capabilities, the Ola platform will continuously learn and evolve, improving risk signalling.

In addition, Ola is also launching the ‘Start Code’ security feature, a UK ride hailing first. The feature sends riders a unique four-digit passcode after booking a ride. The code must then be entered correctly by the driver prior to commencing the trip, ensuring the right customer is matched to the right car and driver, for additional peace of mind. This feature was first introduced globally by Ola in its home market India as the “One time password” or OTP system setting the safety and convenience benchmark for the global ride-hailing industry. Since then, the OTP system has been implemented by other players in the industry.

Both features have been successfully deployed across major cities in India and Australia They will be implemented across the UK, including London, when Ola launches on 10 February.

In another pioneering move for the London market, drivers will not be permitted to drive on the Ola platform if they carry more than six penalty points on their driving licence.

Simon Smith, Head of International, said: “We’re focused on developing a range of best in class features that help us provide the safest possible rideshare experience. We are committed to building world-class mobility innovations to provide even more reassurance for our customers and drivers. This initiative is part of Ola’s commitment to bringing state-of-the-art safety-tech to rideshare in London.”

Image credit: Ola

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