The ride-hailing company Uber is planning to hire hundreds of virtual assistants for its drivers in an effort to increase productivity and drive up sales.
The virtual assistant, known as a “vibe,” is one of several new features Uber is rolling out to help drivers and passengers interact more directly with each other.
Uber CEO Travis Kalanick said on Wednesday that he will unveil the new assistant, dubbed “Ubervibe” during an investor conference on Thursday.
Ubervibe is intended to make the interactions between drivers and customers more personal.
The new technology will make it easier for Uber to recruit and retain more of its drivers, Kalanack said, and help drive more sales.
“We want to make sure we have enough of these talented and motivated drivers who can help us expand our product to more people,” Kalanash said.
“So we’re going to be rolling out the technology in order to recruit more drivers.”
A recent survey by the San Francisco-based technology company B2B software firm Gartner showed that Uber is looking to hire a total of 1,300 virtual assistants by 2020.
While Uber already has an estimated 1,100 virtual assistants, the company said on Tuesday that it would hire a maximum of 2,500.
Uber will be using its new technology to help fill some of the roles that traditional human drivers would normally fill, like getting the driver to pick up the customer or providing additional information, such as directions to a nearby gas station or a restaurant.
The company said it will also be partnering with local restaurants and bars to use the new technology for their apps.
Uber is also planning to start testing a new version of its app, called Uber+ , that will help its drivers interact with passengers.
The app will be available in the U.S. and will also support ride sharing, according to a release from the company.
Uber also said it would start using some of its virtual assistants at its Los Angeles headquarters to help with customer service, such for helping customers in the parking lot of a restaurant and in a public transit station.
Uber said it is also expanding its fleet of virtual cars, which are electric vehicles powered by artificial intelligence that can travel on highways and city streets, and also to help Uber increase its fleet in the United States.
The cars will include the company’s popular, popular cars that are used by the public, such the UberX, UberCab, UberPipeline, UberBlack, UberX and UberRideshare, according the company release.