Uber today has announced a feature that will add a “new layer” of safety that is targeted to drivers.
Real-Time ID Check will implore drivers to take a selfie from time to time before going online so as to ensure that the driver using the app matches the account the company has on file. According to Uber, this protects drivers from fraud, theft and risks since only the registered driver-partner can use the app.
This feature also protects the passengers, according to the company. It will assure that the riders that are picked are driven by the right person on the wheel.
This is how it works: Drivers will be asked to periodically take a selfie before accepting a ride, which is then compared to the one on file and if the two photos don’t match, the account is temporarily blocked for investigation. Checking out the technology behind the feature, it uses Microsoft’s Face API that hinges in the Face Detect and Face Verify APIs to identify and verify the drivers.
This feature was first tested in the US last year in September and it has been rolling out to several countries slowly ever since. In Africa, South Africa and Egypt got the update in March this year.
During the pilot run done in the US, apparently 99% of the drivers were ultimately verified and the majority of mismatches were due to “unclear profile photos.”
So if you see your Uber driver taking a selfie from today, don’t be alarmed as it will be for your own good, as Uber puts it.