In a first for the ride-sharing industry, Indian ride-sharing major Ola on Tuesday launched project ‘Guardian’, a real-time monitoring system, which aims to strengthen ride safety of its customers. The project is part of Ola’s national programme on safety, ‘Street Safe’.
This project has been launched as a pilot in Bangalore, Mumbai and Pune, and will go live in Delhi and Kolkata by the end of October. It is scheduled to be rolled out in other cities by the end of this year.
As per this project, all on-going trips will be tracked by analysing ride indicators that include route deviations, unexpected and midway stops, amongst others. Based on the indicators and time of travel, safety triggers will be created which will be attended to immediately by Ola’s Safety Response Team (SRT). Post analysing the data, the SRT will connect with the customer to assess any potential unsafe ride and provide assistance as required.
Focused on addressing any untoward situations, Ola has integrated real-time data into the project to enhance its effectiveness. In addition, Ola is working with government authorities to map dark spots and unsafe routes into the monitoring platform to enhance the monitoring system’s performance. This capability will enable Ola’s SRT to determine vulnerabilities and augment safety protocols.
As a part of Street Safe, Ola is also working towards mitigating driver impersonation on the platform.
Based on the success of its pilot programme, Ola announced the rollout of its ttech-poweredselfie authentication initiative across the country. Through this initiative, driver partners are required to validate their identity by taking a selfie and sharing it with the Ola team immediately through the app. This photograph of the driver will then be compared to the image on record. Impersonators will have their platform access revoked and will be subject to investigation.
The Ola app has also been updated to include larger photos of driver partners, enabling customers to verify their authenticity and report impersonators. Taking a step further to curb driver impersonation, Ola will initiate offline audit checks at transport hubs including airports, railway stations and bus stands. The trained audit team will not only authenticate driver partners but also inspect the state of the car. Having begun the initiative at Hyderabad and Bangalore airports, offline audit checks will be rolled out to more transport hubs across India in a phased manner.
Speaking about the new safety initiatives, Ankur Agrawal, VP – Business Excellence & Safety at Ola said, “Safety and innovation are embedded in Ola’s DNA. As India’s leading mobility platform, we believe in leveraging technology to improve the overall safety of rides across the transportation industry. The Guardian project is a major step in this direction, which accelerates Ola’s past efforts in holistically making roads and rides safer and build confidence amongst customers and driver-partners to feel safe on the platform round-the-clock.”
He further added, “Ola will continue to innovate and use AI and machine learning algorithms to further enhance the Guardian project as the project is rolled out nationally. We are certain that these moves will have a measurable impact in galvanising India’s mobility ecosystem and providing our customers with an enhanced ride-sharing experience.”
Launched earlier this year, the Street Safe programme is aimed at creating partnerships that strengthen ride and road safety.