Selfies and Safety

April 13, 2017 / Riyadh


Technology is a beautiful thing. It can make life more convenient by allowing people to push a button and get something good—like a ride, or dinner.

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’s certainly the case with several safety features we rolled out last summer to reduce driving risks.

And it’s also the case with Driver Verification, our latest security feature which uses Microsoft Cognitive Services to protect both riders and partner-drivers. Following a successful pilot in the US last year, we’re now gradually rolling out this feature in phases in select cities across the Middle East.

Driver Verification prompts partner-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.


How it works:

    • Partner-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 prevent and reduce risks. During our US pilot, the majority of mismatches were due to unclear profile photos. And more than 99% of drivers were ultimately verified. Given the speed of the verification process, this feature proactively and efficiently builds more security into the app.

Our Global Safety Team continues to explore technologies that keep riders and drivers safe and secure. For example, we’ve begun using GPS and smartphone technology to detect and prevent dangerous driving behavior such as fast acceleration and hard braking. Riders receive their driver’s name, photo and vehicle information to ensure they get into the right car with the right driver. We’ve built into the app easy ways for people to share their journey on a map with friends and family.

Innovation never stops. Keep an eye out for the next feature to launch in your city.