With a team of digitally connected cars roaming a city’s streets, you can probably do more than simply drive people places. Uber knows that as well as anyone, and now it’s using its drivers to look for missing children.

Uber has announced that it’s joining forces with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children to send AMBER alerts to its drivers. The messages will notify the drivers about children that are in danger within their proximity, allowing them to keep an eye open as they drive through the city.

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The AMBER alert program is a scheme that allows urgent messages to be sent out when serious child-abduction cases occur. It’s a scheme led by law-enforcement agencies, who send out the messages via broadcasters, transportation agencies, and the wireless industry. Since it launched way back in 1996 it’s helped recover 772 children from danger.

Sending geographically targeted AMBER alerts to Uber drivers is a smart move: an intelligent use of a huge, mobile, digitally connected network that can receive information in an instant. In fact, it makes you wonder what other good the Uber fleet could be used to achieve.

The AMBER system isn’t afraid of innovation: earlier this year, California began using the (merciful) redundancy in the system to find cars involved in hit-and-run crashes.

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Uber’s involvement with the scheme starts today, with the alerts rolling out in 180 cities around the U.S.. It’s perhaps some welcome good news after the headaches that the taxi service suffered yesterday.

[Uber]

Image via Getty

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