Last updated: 04:30 PM ET, Fri September 23 2016

Uber Is Asking Its Drivers To Up Their Selfie Game

Travel Technology | Gabe Zaldivar | September 23, 2016

Uber Is Asking Its Drivers To Up Their Selfie Game

Photo courtesy Uber Newsroom

Selfies are usually relegated to infuriating Instagram followers who have to live vicariously through their traveling friends’ lives. But Uber is turning the art of the selfie into a safety device.

The popular ride-sharing app has moved to infuse a bit more safety assurances for its riders in the form of a selfie initiative.

Uber, through its Newsroom blog, explained: “Real-Time ID Check prompts drivers to share a selfie before going online to help ensure the driver using the app matches the account we have on file.”

This drastically deters drivers from handing over the figurative keys of their account to a friend who may not have been vetted through Uber.

In this case, a quick selfie, something that takes all of a few moments, would ensure that the person on file is indeed behind the wheel.

It’s another level of assurances that John Q. Driver with 4.8 stars is indeed the person coming to get you when you hail the ride.

READ MORE: How to Get the Most Out of Business Travel

It’s perhaps an innovation that would cut down on, say, scams that are popping up in China in the form of “ghost drivers,” of which we noted earlier this week.

As for Uber’s Real-Time ID Check, drivers will occasionally get pinged with a request to flip on their phones and take a selfie.

From there, technology takes over: “Microsoft’s Cognitive Services to instantly compare this photo to the one corresponding with the account on file.”

If there is a mismatch, then the driver’s account is blocked and Uber will sleuth out what went wrong.

Obviously, there are bound to be some false warnings in this kind of initiative. However, Uber points to a pilot phase of the security measure that boasted a 99 percent return rate wherein drivers were verified.

No security measure is perfect, but it’s nice to see a ubiquitous service continue to pore energy into something many travelers take very seriously.


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