Uber today announced new tools for its iOS app that aim to simplify and streamline stressful pickup situations for both riders and drivers.
To start, there's a new "Spotlight" feature that will light up the rider's iPhone display with a bright, color-specific hue. The driver will be notified to which color has been chosen, so when the rider holds their iPhone in the air they'll know exactly who to pick up.
Uber has been testing such a system since late 2015 with technology that displayed a chosen color inside of the driver's car using a small mounted light. Those tests eventually became "Uber Beacons," which drivers can purchase to place in their vehicles so that riders can more easily find them.
The ride-hailing company has also committed to a new guarantee for on-time scheduled pickups, promising riders that they'll make important appointments when setting a specific time and place for an upcoming Uber ride. If riders are ever late for an appointment, the company will give them Uber credit for their next ride.
Lastly, Uber has added in short "Pickup Messages" that riders can send to their drivers and vice versa. The company says that riders can send helpful visual hints like details of clothing to drivers, and when the message is received the Uber Driver app reads it aloud so drivers aren't distracted. Uber first began allowing in-app chats between riders and drivers last August.
Next, Uber says that users can expect more features and updates aimed at "taking the stress out of the experience" coming later this year.