Technology

Dara Khosrowshahi, chief executive officer of Uber
David Paul Morris | Reuters

Uber announced several new features on Wednesday during the company’s annual Go-Get product showcase.

The new options include the ability to reserve a ride with a car seat, to call an Uber without the app, and to add teens to a family profile, among others. This year’s Go-Get event marks Uber’s first in-person press conference since the pandemic.

“Whether you’re staying home or getting out there, we are building with humans for humans,” CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said during the event.

Shares of Uber are up around 51% year-to-date and, in a release about Uber’s first-quarter results earlier this month, Khosrowshahi said the company is off to a “strong start” for the year. The new features provide an example of how the company hopes to maintain its momentum while competitors like Lyft, which is down about 25% year-to-date, continue to struggle.

Here are the key new offerings announced on Wednesday:

Uber Car Seat

Families and caregivers in Los Angeles and New York City will be able to request a ride with a car seat for children up to 65 lbs as part of Uber’s partnership with the car seat company Nuna. Uber plans to roll out this feature in more cities in the future.

1-833-USE-UBER

Uber has introduced a phone number people can call to book a ride without using the Uber app. The company said this will help people who might struggle with navigating smartphones or apps access the same “effortless” Uber experience. People in the U.S. can request a ride by speaking English or Spanish at 1-833-USE-UBER, or 1-833-873-8237.

“We all know that not everyone is comfortable using a phone or an app to call an Uber, like my mother-in-law,” Khosrowshahi said. “What could be easier for her?”

Family profiles and teen accounts

Uber

Beginning May 22, teenagers between the ages of 13 and 17 will be able to request their own deliveries and rides. Consenting parents and guardians will have full control over their teens’ accounts, and they can monitor trips and deliveries in real-time. Uber said only “highly rated” and experienced drivers will be able to complete rides with teens.

Teen accounts will be available in select cities in the U.S. and Canada. They can be set up and managed within a “family profile” in the Uber app, which allows multiple accounts to be linked under one centralized payment method.

“It is all about helping you manage the craziness that encompasses family life in 2023,” Khosrowshahi said during the event.

Group Grocery Orders

Family members, friends or roommates can now build group grocery orders through Uber Eats. Users can invite participants to add items, set recurring orders and set deadlines for when to order. Eligible merchants will also help groups sort out costs by automatically splitting the bill.

Group Rides

Uber

With group rides, Uber users will soon be able to invite friends and family to add their addresses to a trip. Uber will automatically update the stops so the driver takes the most efficient route, and each individual will be charged according to the amount of time they spent on the trip.

Video Gift Messaging

Uber Eats users can record a personalized in-app video message when they send gifts to friends and family. The video will be available for the gift recipients to watch in their Uber Eats app.

Initially, users will only be able to attach videos to monetary gift cards sent through the platform, but Uber said it will soon expand to deliveries as well.

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