Uber has introduced yet another security feature that is aimed at improving safety and security for both riders and drivers. The Real-Time ID check makes use of Microsoft Cognitive Services in order to check the identity of the drivers. This, according to Uber will help them match the driver against their respective accounts on the app before every ride.
Drivers are prompted to upload their selfies in the Uber app before they accept the ride and this is when the Microsoft’s Cognitive Services springs into action and verifies the selfie with the user account. If it’s not matched, the account will be blocked temporarily. Uber has already run a pilot in the US and found out that the average verification time was just a few seconds and the successful verification rate was 99%.
However, this also means that your trips are no more anonymous and when the driver accepts the ride, his first name, photo license plate number and the rating will be displayed. Both the parties can contact each other on the app. Uber also claims that they have further concreted background checks and the documents check along with the mandatory soft skill training for the drivers. Other security features that already exist on the Uber app include SOS, ride details sharing functionality and the ability to connect directly with police control room. With the Real-Time ID, Uber will be able to flush out the folks who abuse the system by booking rides from their other phones and will also help Uber to wipe out multiple accounts created by the same user. Especially in India, it’s not uncommon to see Uber drivers let their friends use their Uber accounts and make some extra bucks. That being said, this is also expected to pose problems for Uber owners who hire drivers for manning their fleet.
Also, one needs to bear in mind that not all smartphones come equipped with a good selfie camera and most of the cameras fail when it comes to dark or low light situations. Well, Uber says they have rebuilt their UI so that it increases the overall brightness while taking a selfie. The Real-Time ID has been rolled out earlier in the U.S and this time around it will be rolled out in several international markets including South Africa, Egypt, Russia, Bahrain, UAE, Qatar, Philippines, Singapore, Australia, Brazil, Indonesia, Pakistan, Vietnam, and India (Bangalore, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Kolkata and New Delhi).