The ride-hailing company Uber Technologies Inc. plans to open a 250 million reais ($64 million) centre in Brazil to develop technology and improve safety for its riders and drivers.
The improvement includes drivers to accept cash, a key payment method in its rapid expansion in Latin America.
Uber’s Safety Product Director, Sachin Kansal said that the investment over the next five years would fund an office with around 150 tech specialists in Sao Paulo, where the company provides more rides than anywhere in the world.
Kansal said cash is extremely important.
“There is a certain segment of society which does not have access to credit cards and that is also the segment of society that is probably in the most need of convenient, reliable transportation.” Kansal said.
He said Uber was also using machine learning to block trips it considered risky.
According to Uber’s executives, Brazil is Uber’s second-largest national market after the United States, with 1 billion rides in the past four years and a profitable bottom line.
Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi has said safety is Uber’s top priority.
The development center will open by the end of 2018.