Uber app adds new features to simplify pickups. REUTERS/Simon Dawson

Uber has announced a couple of features that might help making pickups easier for both riders and drivers. The first tool is called “Spotlight” and it allows Uber drivers to easily spot riders.

When a user books a ride on Uber, they will receive the make and model of the driver’s vehicle, along with the license plater number. The rider would usually hold up their phones to signal their driver for pickup. However, this can be confusing if the rider is in a crowded area. The new Spotlight feature fixes that problem.


“When you’re in crowded areas or it’s nighttime, it can be hard for you and your driver to find one another. With Spotlight, you can light up your phone with a special color specific to your driver,” Uber said on its blog. “Your driver will receive a message telling them what color to look for, so you can just hold your phone in the air.”

This isn’t the first time that Uber experimented with a system like this. In 2015, Uber began testing this type of technology, which eventually became “Uber beacons,” as pointed out by MacRumors. Uber beacons allowed drivers to have a small mounted light on their car that can be lit up with a chosen color. This allowed riders to spot their Uber rides easily. Spotlight seems like a natural extension of that, but this time, the riders are the ones showing specific colors to their drivers.


Another new feature for the Uber app is called Pickup Messages. With this feature, messages can be sent by drivers and riders alike. Pickup Messages allows users to send quick messages. Uber suggests that riders should use this feature to provide their drivers visual hints, like what they are wearing, so they can be easily spotted. When a driver receives a Pickup Message, the Uber Driver app will read the message out loud so that they won’t be distracted while driving.

The last feature that Uber is adding to its ride-hailing app is guaranteed on-time scheduled pickups. “When you have an early flight to catch or an important meeting to get to, scheduling your ride in advance is a great way to make sure you leave on time. Our on-time guarantee means your scheduled ride will arrive during the time period you select, or we’ll give you Uber credit towards your next ride,” the company said.