Why your Uber driver may be taking selfies

WASHINGTON — With a growing number of ride-sharing services, and concerns about making sure only qualified drivers are behind the wheel, Uber is taking a step to improve safety — requiring drivers to take selfies.

Starting Friday, Uber drivers will be required to take a selfie in the Uber app before going online and periodically during a shift. The goal is to make sure the right person is in the driver’s seat.

Using Microsoft’s Cognitive Services, the driver’s selfie is instantly compared to the one on file in the driver’s account.

Once verified, the drivers will be authorized to accept rides.

If the two photos don’t match, the driver’s account is temporarily blocked, while Uber checks out the discrepancy.

The company said that during pilot programs in Los Angeles, New York, Miami and Atlanta, more than 99 percent of the drivers were eventually verified.

The majority of mismatches came from unclear profile photos, Uber said in a blog post.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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