How many times has this happened to you? You summon a ride on Uber, only to lose track of the car in a sea of traffic.
Or more embarrassing, you jump into the wrong car, whose driver takes you for a carjacker and reaches for her pepper spray.
To prevent either of those things from happening, Uber says it is testing a concept in Seattle, using a new technology called SPOT that uses color codes to connect drivers and riders.
“We’ve provided some of our local driver partners with SPOT devices that are attached to their car windshields,” Uber said on its website. “When a rider requests a trip and is matched with a SPOT-enabled driver, the rider will be asked to select a color in the app while waiting.”
To help ensure a smooth connection, the rider can even light up his or her phone screen by pressing and holding on the color to help the driver quickly make an accurate identification. When the driver arrives, the SPOT device on his or her windshield will glow in the rider’s chosen color.
“SPOT is the latest experiment in our ongoing effort to make Uber pickups as seamless as possible,” the company said.
Uber says one of the purposes of the experiment is to reduce the time it takes for a driver and rider to identify one another. Reducing that time, the company says, will trim wait times, resulting in more rides for drivers.
Presumably, if the system achieves satisfactory results on the streets of Seattle, it will go nationwide.