Uber’s latest creation is not a new delivery service or a new take on carpooling—it’s a hardware device. Uber has just introduced Beacon, a light that attaches to a driver’s windscreen and displays a color that you specify in the app. It is only in the trial stage right now, but riders in Miami, Nashville and Denver in the US and Newcastle in the UK will start seeing them from this week.
The Beacon is essentially a glowing, and plastic Uber logo that drivers can affix to the inside of their windshields. It is Bluetooth-enabled, so after a driver accepts your ride request, a prompt will appear in your app that asks you to choose a specific color. If you choose green, the driver’s Beacon will glow green. Choose magenta, it’ll glow magenta. Either way, when he arrives at the destination, you’ll know it, no guesswork needed.
Uber says it’ll help riders ‘quickly identify a booked vehicle at night, helping to make pickups easier during busy times and areas.’ It is a lot like Lyft’s Amp dashboard, which debuted last year, and builds on an earlier Uber color coding test called SPOT.
How It Work?
The Beacon is easy to set: just stick the small magnetized holder to the windshield from inside the car using the adhesive side, and then attach the device to the holder. The Beacon is charged via a USB cable, and outside the vehicle or while driver is on the road. Uber says the device should last for ‘thousands of charges’ before it needs to be replaced. Drivers can seek help for the Beacons by contacting Uber online or stopping by the local center for Uber driver resources.
Uber says that while Beacon’s rollout is currently limited, it’s working with drivers to ensure there are as many lights available ahead of one of its busiest nights of the year: New Year’s Eve. It intends to expand the trial to the more cities in 2017 but hasn’t confirmed which ones are next on its list.