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Uber launches real time ID check for drivers using selfies

Cab aggregator Uber has launched real time ID check for drivers using selfies. The new security feature is currently live in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, and Kolkata with other cities coming soon.

The new measure prompts the driver to periodically take a picture before accepting rides, to ensure the correct driver is behind the wheel. This is to prevent frauds and drivers’ accounts from being compromised. Uber has tied up with Microsoft’s Cognitive Services to compare the photo to the one corresponding with the account on the file.

According to Uber, if the photos do not match, the account will be temporarily blocked and ‘we will look into the situation’. The company claims a 99% success rate for the identification technology during its pilot program. However, we wonder how effective the software is on ground, especially to detect sudden changes like shaving a long beard etc. Most likely, such errors will have to be corrected manually, and a driver could lose a ride, since it would take some time to accept. The success of the project essentially depends on the reliability of Microsoft’s comparison software.

Note that the feature is already available in the US, and Uber is now rolling it out to international markets like South Africa, Egypt, Russia, Bahrain, UAE, Qatar, Philippines, Singapore, Australia, Brazil, Indonesia, Pakistan, Vietnam etc., other than India. Other features launched by Uber for drivers include telematics for drivers for predicting and preventing accidents and to track performance, just earlier this year. Back in 2015, the company had upgraded its in-app SOS button and said it would have closer coordination with local police control rooms in case of an emergency. The company had also introduced an improved ShareMyETA button in December that allows passengers to send their complete trip details (including live GPS tracking, driver photo, name and vehicle license number).

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