Microsoft Cognitive Services at the heart of Uber’s Real-Time ID Check

Kit McDonald

We’ve been taught since we were young not to talk to strangers. Then technology advanced. Now we’re not only talking to strangers every day online, but we’re connecting in more ways than ever before. Even when it comes to getting a ride by using Uber.

Not everyone is comfortable getting into a car with someone they don’t know. Thankfully, the developers over at Uber understand that. They’ve continuously brought out updates to add GPS and speed tracking to prevent dangerous driving as well as sharing your ride with friends and family. Now they have stepped up even further to a more secure account feature: facial recognition.

The use of Microsoft Cognitive Services has enabled the app not only to keep a periodic check on drivers but to ensure that they are picking up the right rider as well. Their announcement postt explains that the facial recognition feature is called Real-Time ID Check.

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.

Drivers will also have to check in once in a while to take a selfie before they even accept a ride. If the pictures do not match, the account is put on a temporary block until other means of verification can be attained. Uber doesn’t seem concerned that accidentally mismatched photos will be a problem, however. According to their beta phase testing, the process has a 99% success rate when the user has a clear identifiable picture in a lighted environment.

While it’s not the breath of relief and many people still hold reservations to getting in a car with a stranger, it’s nice to see Uber meeting concerns with the use of growing technology.