Uber introduces Selfies to enhance drivers and riders safety

Uber today announced the roll-out of an intelligent new safety feature, Real-Time ID check in yet another innovation on its technology to improve safety for drivers and riders using the app.

With the new feature, drivers are periodically prompted to share a selfie before going online, Uber then compares this photo to the one corresponding to the account on file to validate the driver before they start driving.

Speaking while introducing the new feature, Loic Amado, General Manager of Uber in East Africa said, “We’re constantly developing and testing new solutions to enhance security for both drivers and riders. 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.”

Real-Time ID works by prompting drivers using the app to share a selfie from time to time before going online. This verification is achieved through advanced facial recognition technology and takes place within a few seconds. If the two images don’t match, the account is temporarily blocked while Uber looks into the situation. This helps Uber to ensure in real time that the driver using the app matches the account it has on file.

“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,” added 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.