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Uber tests Beacon, Spotlight features in Toronto

by Ronan Glon

The new feature is helpful when requesting a ride at night.

Uber is testing a new feature called Beacon in Toronto, Canada. The windshield-mounted device helps connect passengers and drivers.

Drivers who want to test the feature need to install a beacon roughly the size of a beer coaster on their windshield, according to website Daily Hive. Passengers are informed that the driver's car is equipped with a beacon when they request a ride and they can choose which color they want it to glow. They're also given the option of displaying the same color on their phone's screen, a feature the company calls Spotlight.

Beacon facilitates the task of finding a car, especially when requesting an Uber at night, in crowded areas, or in instances when the passenger doesn't know what a Toyota Camry looks like. It's win-win, according to the company. The driver sees the beacon's color so passengers can hold up their phone in the air to let the driver know where they are. If you can't seem them, they'll at least be able to see you.

Right now, Uber is only testing its Beacon feature in Toronto. Using it doesn't make a ride more expensive, though the company hasn't specified whether it supplies the device or if drivers need to pay extra for it. And, there's no word on when -- or if -- the feature will expand to other cities.