Uber unveils new safety feature, 911 text assistance; not yet available in Chicago

Uber unveiled a new safety feature Tuesday morning, 911 text assistance.

If rideshare customers feel unsafe in an Uber, they can tap a badge in Uber's mobile application that will directly connect them with a local emergency dispatcher. The app tells the dispatcher the make and model of the vehicle, its license plate, location, where it's supposed to be going next and the situation.

Emergency responders can then track the rider in real time and silently communicate with the customer.

"We want people to feel safe when they use Uber," said Andrew Hasbun, head of safety communications. "We want to provide them with tools that they need if something goes wrong."

An Uber driver sexually assaulted a 28-year-old woman earlier this month in Lakeview, Chicago police have said. The alleged crime is still under investigation.

An Uber spokeswoman said Tuesday the new text assistance feature has not yet rolled out in Chicago.