Uber debuts panic button for riders

Uber on Wednesday debuted a new safety feature that will allow its riders to quickly contact 911 if something goes wrong on their trip.

The new emergency feature for the taxi service had been announced in April as part of a new "safety center" menu on the application that includes insurance information, details on Uber's driver screening and behavior guidelines for riders. 



According to a report in The Verge, passengers will now be able to directly contact first responders by swiping up on the menu's center icon, pressing "911 assistance" and then confirming the distress call, process meant to avoid misdials, Uber's director of product management said.

A feature that immediately sends the passenger's details to first responders will also be tested in a handful of markets.

The new feature will allow passengers to share their travel information with five designated friends. 

The new feature comes as part of the company's sweeping safety overhaul announced last month by the company's new CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, after a self-driving Uber vehicle struck and killed a pedestrian woman in Arizona. 

A panic button for Uber drivers is also reportedly in the works, according to the report.