Bengaluru-headquartered cab-hailing unicorn Ola, Monday, announced the rollout of its AI-enabled safety feature, ‘Guardian’ in 16 Indian cities and Perth in Australia.
The new feature, aimed at ensuring the safety of commuters, 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 24×7 safety response team, who will immediately reach out to customers and drivers to confirm if they’re safe and offer on-the-call assistance until ride completion.
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.
The company claims that the technology enables it to continuously learn and evolve from millions of data points every single day, to improve risk signaling and instant resolution.
The cab-hailing company ran a pilot across multiple cities in India and international markets and aims to take Guardian to more cities in the coming quarter.
“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,” said Arun Srinivas, chief sales and marketing officer, Ola in a statement.
Currently, the company’s safety initiatives include an emergency button, facial recognition systems for driver authentication, and a one-time-password (OTP) system. Ola also conducts mandatory verification through criminal records checks as well as mandatory online training for drivers.
The facial recognition system 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.
The company’s competitor Uber has safety features such as call anonymisation, rider and driver safety toolkit, emergency assistance button, 24/7 Uber safety line, among others. Uber’s recent US Safety report said the company received reports of 2,936 sexual assaults in 2017 and 3,045 in 2018 during its rides in the United States. Nine people were murdered and 58 killed in crashes, said the report. No such report has been shared by cab-hailing platforms in India.