Uber has announced the roll-out of an intelligent new safety feature aimed at improving the safety for drivers and riders using the app.
Dubbed the Real-Time ID check, the new feature to be rolled out in phases in all towns in Kenya where Uber operates, will see drivers periodically prompted to share a selfie before going online. Uber will then compare the photo to the one on account file to validate the driver before they start driving.
“We’re constantly developing and testing new solutions to enhance security for both drivers and riders”, Loic Amado, General Manager of Uber in East Africa said of the new app adding, “this helps Uber to ensure in real time that the driver using the app matches the account it has on file.”
Real-Time ID will work by prompting drivers using the app to share a selfie from time to time before going online. If the two images don’t match, the account is temporarily blocked while Uber looks into the situation.
Amado said Real-time ID check is the result of comprehensive research and testing, and the example of proactive technology that solves potential challenges before they occur.
“The check protects drivers driving with Uber from fraud, theft and risks to their account being compromised. It also assures riders that when they are picked up, the right person is behind the wheel,” the Uber GM added.
he said the innovation behind Real-Time ID started with experimentation with voice, facial and gesture recognition. However, the simple action of taking a selfie is a language that people all over the world understand.
“We can now ensure that only the registered driver can use and benefit from our application,” noted Mr. Amado.
Currently, this feature is being rolled-out to drivers in Kenya in phases so not all drivers will see this feature right away. The average verification time is just a few seconds. This new development is part of Uber’s ongoing commitment to creating simple, intuitive technology that not only makes the lives of riders and drivers easier, but keeps everyone safe at every step of their Uber journey.
“Technology is a powerful tool that can improve safety and security in ways not possible before. Riders can feel safe knowing that their driver has been verified and drivers using the app can rest assured that a fraudster is not using their account.” concluded Mr. Amado.
Alongside Kenya, Real-Time ID has also been rolled out in South Africa, Nigeria and Ghana this follows a global roll out that was launched in the US.
The Uber network is now available in over 475 cities in over 75 countries spanning 6 continents.