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Selfie powered Real-Time ID Check comes to India

March 13, 2017 / Chennai

We all know that technology has the potential to solve some of the biggest problems being faced by the world today – congestion, pollution, global warming, access to healthcare and education, clean water, and much more.

It’s also a powerful tool that can improve safety and security in ways not possible before. What excites us most is the potential for products and features to prevent issues before they even happen. That too with a simple and fun technology like a selfie!

That’s why we are excited about Real-Time ID Check, our latest security feature which uses Microsoft Cognitive Services to protect both riders and drivers.

“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 prevents fraud and protects drivers’ accounts from being compromised. It also protects riders by building another layer of accountability into the app to ensure the right person is behind the wheel. Today we’re thrilled to launch this feature in five cities in India, starting with New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Kolkata, with more cities to follow. We believe this new initiative will go a long way in keeping our riders and drivers in the city safe and our rides reliable like never before,” said Joe Sullivan, Chief Security Officer, Uber

How it works:

  • Drivers are asked periodically to take a selfie in the Uber app before they accept rides.
  • We then use Microsoft’s Cognitive Services to instantly compare this photo to the one corresponding with the account on file.
  • If the two photos don’t match, the account is temporarily blocked while we look into the situation.

We’re constantly developing and testing new solutions to enhance security for both drivers and riders. Our extensive pilot and US rollout last year demonstrated the effectiveness of real-time ID check in proactively using technology in ways not possible before. The average verification time is just a few seconds and the technology was successful in verifying more than 99% of drivers in the pilot program.

Our Trust & Safety team continues to explore technologies that keep riders and drivers safe and secure.

Here’s how we are making rides in India safer like never before:


  • Trips are no longer anonymous.  When a driver accepts a request, his or her first name, photo, license plate number, and rating will be shown to the person being picked up.  In addition, the driver can see the first name and rating of the passenger. Drivers and riders can contact each other through the app if there is any confusion around pick-up details.    
  • Driver partners are verified. We have a zero tolerance policy towards any abusive behaviour on our platform. In addition, we are equally conscious about recruiting driver partners with valid documents, after a comprehensive background check and a mandatory soft skill training that enables them to offer riders a great experience.
  • Never get lost. When riders enter their destination into their app, drivers will automatically receive turn-by-turn directions (navigation) on their app throughout the trip — making the ride more comfortable for both parties. Riders can also see their route live on a map in the app so they always know where they are and if they are on the right route.

  • Share my journey. Riders can easily share their ride details, including the specific route and estimated time of arrival, with friends or family for extra peace of mind. They’ll receive a link where they can see in real time the name and photo of the driver, the vehicle, and the trip route live on the map until the final destination is reached — and they can do all of this without having to download the Uber app themselves
  • SOS Function: Several innovative safety features have been incorporated in the app to ensure a safe, reliable and convenient travel from point A to point B, one such India first feature is the SOS function, now known as the ‘EMERGENCY’ button. With this, riders will be able to directly connect with the police control room and an internal response team at Uber as well.

Innovation never stops at Uber. Stay safe and keep an eye out for the next feature to launch in your city.