SINGAPORE (The Straits Times/Asia News Nework): Grab Singapore introduced a new feature on its app that allows passengers and the driver to record audio for safety purposes.
AudioProtect will be rolled out progressively as part of a trial from March 21, Grab said on Tuesday.
It will act as a safety measure for users and drivers when on a ride, as the recordings can be used to resolve safety incidents in a more efficient manner.
These incidents may include accidents and verbal, physical, and sexual harassment, or abuse cases.
Both parties are required to give consent before a recording takes place.
The recording will be paused when a passenger is on a call and resume only after the call ends, but may continue on the driver’s phone.
Passengers and drivers can enable the feature on the app under “account safety settings” after a ride is booked. Once it is activated, it will remain as the default setting for all future rides if their fellow passenger or driver consents.
The user can disable the feature by making the change in account safety settings before a ride.
All recorded audio files are encrypted and stored on the device for a maximum of five days before being deleted, if no safety incident has been reported.
The files cannot be accessed by either the passenger or the driver, and will only be accessed by Grab’s safety team if a safety-related incident occurs, Grab said.
If a safety incident is reported in the the time frame, files will be securely stored for six months and automatically deleted from Grab’s servers permanently after that period, unless the incident takes longer to be resolved, in which case the files might be kept for longer as needed, Grab added.
Kimberly Lim, head of safety and quality at Grab, said: “We have come a long way from just having an SOS button for users to reach out to authorities if they are in an emergency situation.
“Tech advancements have allowed us to play a more preventive role instead of only providing assistance post-incident. Today, the majority of our Grab rides already occur without incident, but we need to keep doing more.”
The feature will be available on all Grab rides, except for GrabShare and GrabHitch.