BayBrazil is proud to welcome Uber as our Corporate Member!
We’ll be supporting Engineering Director Nandu Ramani and his team to advance safety technology in Brazil through Uber’s new engineering center in Sao Paulo.
In this interview, Nandu details some of his plans and why Uber chose Brazil for its first Development Center in Latin America
BayBrazil : Why Uber chose Brazil for this development center?
Nandu : Brazil is home of important research and development initiatives in tech, it has world-class engineers and universities recognized for their contribution in that area. At the same time, the country has safety challenges. For our first Development Center in Latin America, which will be initially focused on Safety, we wanted to make sure we could attract the best talent to contribute to solving some of the global safety problems.
BayBrazil : Accepting cash for rides has been an important strategic move in countries like Brazil where credit and debit cards are not accessible for most of the population. Does violence in emerging markets bring more challenges for Uber’s business model?
Nandu : Uber has been working on specific tools for the Brazilian reality. To verify riders, we use a tool that requires to insert CPF and the date of birth of the ones that choose to pay for their trips only in cash. Such data is checked with the database of the federal government. The app also allows drivers to cancel travel requests whenever they feel unsafe and can also prevent travel requests in areas with public safety challenges, on specific moments. Uber has also adopted machine learning technology in Brazil to identify risk signals based on real-time analysis of data from the millions of trips made daily with the app. The tool, which uses algorithms that can learn from data, blocks trips considered to be potentially unsafe unless the user provides additional identification details.
BayBrazil : What is the strategy to hire 150 tech specialists in São Paulo? Are you planning to hire foreigners to work in São Paulo? How can they apply?
Nandu : In addition to regular recruiting channels, we are planning to work with leading Universities in Brazil. People can apply directly on our site
BayBrazil : Since Dara Khosrowshahi became CEO, he has prioritized ride safety, worker rights, and better public relations. Is the Brazilian development center a result of the CEO’s engagement in safety?
Nandu : There is nothing more important than the safety of the people and communities we serve worldwide. It’s more than a priority – it’s essential. Technology is at the heart of our approach because it can make travel safer than was possible before. Our technology makes it possible to develop features which focus on safety for riders and drivers before, during, and after every trip in ways that simply were not possible before smartphones. Uber’s efforts are focused on improving safety and enabling people to move safely around the world every day.
Of course, no means of transportation is 100 percent guaranteed because accidents and incidents will happen. But we’re working constantly to ensure these are kept to an absolute minimum—including through new technology. When incidents occur, we have the data to share with the authorities and help with investigations, according to law. We have the record of who was the driver partner and the rider, their history, what was the route taken, length of the journey, etc.
BayBrazil : In addition to improve safety, is the Brazilian center intended to work on other projects or
Nandu : Each Dev Center deals with topics that might be implemented across the globe. Our center in Pittsburgh, for example, is dedicated to self-driving. The one in Paris focuses on Uber Elevate with an emphasis on artificial intelligence, aviation, and all-electric transportation. In Brazil, we will initially work on safety, including high scale distributed systems, real-time data processing, advanced telematics, machine learning, and mobile development, among others. Over time, we may consider expanding to other areas.
BayBrazil : Uber is growing beyond ride-hailing since joining food delivery, acquiring bike-share startup JUMP, engaging in VTOLs development partnerships. How can Brazil contribute to making Uber a top urban mobility platform?
Nandu : Safety is an important aspect of mobility across different modalities and we look forward to engineers in Brazil help us make Uber the safest transportation choice.
BayBrazil : Is Uber considering the autonomous car as a solution for the violence against drivers in some
Nandu : We are always looking for different ways to solve safety problems.
BayBrazil : What is the best thing about working for a leading company like Uber?
Nandu : Innovation, Technology at Scale, Impact, and People – you innovate leveraging the latest technologies (ML, Telematics, Real-time data, highly scalable distributed systems etc.) with far-reaching impact across the world while working with really smart and passionate people.
BayBrazil : Our team is thrilled to help Uber to advance safety technology innovation in Brazil. Thanks for the partnership!
Nandu : We are excited about partnering with Bay Brazil as well! Obrigado!