September 26, 2016 -
Uber is introducing facial recognition verification for drivers, a new security measure that will soon roll out to the entire U.S., according to a report by Techcrunch.
The move comes a few months after Uber launched the feature in China in order to counter fraud, prevent identity theft, and ensure the safety of its riders.
Real-Time ID Check uses Microsoft machine learning to compare a selfie taken in the Uber driver app against the driver’s registered profile photo.
The two photos must match before the driver is allowed to accept fares. If the photos fail to match, the driver’s account is temporarily locked down so Uber can investigate into the matter.
The feature ensures that the passenger’s driver is the same individual who went through Uber’s onboarding process, instead of another person who may just be using the phone or account credentials of another driver.
Uber says the feature is also designed with the driver’s best interests in mind as it will prevent driver fraud by requiring another verification measure each time the driver logs in.
The system has already been in pilot for a few months, and Uber said that any mismatches during the pilot phase is likely the result of the original driver’s profile photo not being fully clear.
Over 99 percent of drivers were verified during the pilot phase. Uber said that only a small percentage of cases where the system failed to validate was because drivers were not who they claimed to be.
Real-Time ID Check is rolling out across cities where Uber operates in the U.S. It is uncertain when and if the security feature will be offered in international markets.