4 September 2020

Want To Request An Uber? You May Have To Take A Selfie First!

Uber has been rolling out a number of new features recently to help make journeys safer as the coronavirus pandemic continues. Such measures have previously included ensuring passengers don’t sit near the drivers, as well as requiring both drivers and passengers to wear a face covering at all times as they ride.

Now, the company appears to be taking steps even further by asking passengers to take selfies of them wearing a face covering.

This won’t apply to every passenger using the service. However, if a driver reports that a user wasn’t wearing a mask during their journey, they may be requested to take the selfie before they can use the service again.

Uber has also confirmed that the feature does not use facial recognition technology. They will store the photo for 96 hours in case they need to settle potential disputes, after which the photo will be permanently deleted.

“We definitely wanted to make sure that we are targeting this feature to riders who are maybe just coming back to the platform and maybe they’re not aware of our mask technology,” said Sachin Kansal, Uber’s senior director of product management.

When will the update come to the UK?

The update is expected to be launched in the US and Canada by the end of September, and it is expected to be rolled out to the UK in following weeks.

Uber wrote in a recent blog post:

Medical experts agree: wearing a mask can help slow the spread of COVID-19. That’s why, since May, we have required riders, drivers, and delivery people to wear a face mask when using Uber. Today, we’re building on these efforts with several new features and initiatives to help ensure we are all protecting one another.

Earlier this year, we built innovative technology designed to verify that drivers on Uber and delivery people on Uber Eats are wearing a mask. Before starting to drive passengers or deliver food, they are asked to take a selfie showing their mouth and nose are covered. To date, more than 3.5 drivers and delivery people have completed more than 100 million mask verifications.

We firmly believe that accountability is a two-way street. That’s why we’re expanding the same technology to riders, too. If a driver reports to us that a rider wasn’t wearing a mask, the rider will be required to take a selfie with their face covered before they’re able to take another drip with Uber. With the addition of this new feature, one driver’s feedback can help ensure the safety of Uber for the next driver.

The mask verification feature will roll out to the US and Canada by the end of September, and across Latin America and other countries after that. (As with the driver mask verification tool, this technology detects the mask as an object in the photo and does not process biometric information.)

Wardour Street, City of Westminster, London” by CherryX, used under CC BY / Modified from original

 

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