Facial Recognition Software for Driver Identity Verification

The evolution of the ride-hailing industry might have changed fate in favor of passengers but the rise in security vulnerabilities is constantly haunting the stakeholders. Major operators including Uber and Lyft are trying to calm riders, drivers and regulators by placing some cosmetic modifications to their software systems but the incidents compromising security continues to increase. The industry requires comprehensive driver identity verification in their system.

This article shares how facial recognition technology capacitates ride-hailing operators to ensure that only the registered drivers can accept the ride requests.

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Why do ride hailing operators require facial recognition?

The authority responsible for regulating transport in London banned Uber from operating in the city for shortcomings in its software system. The primary issue is the fact that unregistered drivers were able to use the account of registered ones to accept ride requests.

Regulators also revealed that the drivers once barred due to excessive complaints managed to register new accounts. People from around the world have protested on multiple occasions to push governments for strict regulations.

However, Uber had to face decisive backlash after one of the students in South Carolina was murdered allegedly during her ride with Uber. London is the first major metropolitan to ban Uber. Lyft and all major ride-hailing companies face the same challenges.

Privately owned ride-hailing companies rarely disclose any security incident unless it manages to get viral through some other channel. Uber and Lyft are bound to share the reports after going public. The recent report from Uber reveals an alarming 3,000 harassment cases in 2018 occurring in the US alone.

Ride-Hailing Safety with Facial Recognition Technology

Ride-hailing business operators have tried a range of measures to ensure security. None of them, however, seems to work. The primary problem with this lack of effectiveness is the irresponsibility of both drivers and passengers to follow newly defined procedures.

Facial recognition is suitable because such a software solution would leave no other choice for drivers but to reveal their identity – and that too at multiple times while the status is active.

How facial recognition works?

The technology integrated by CabStartup in its cloud based ride-hailing platform involves sophisticated pattern recognition algorithms. Regulators can ensure that the driver is the same person as shown in driver ID.

The computer vision algorithm performs 3-Dimension recognition by identifying the shape of the face. This identification also includes details in eyes, nose, forehead and cheeks. The system compares even the minute details of an image with another picture of the same individual in the database and generates a score of confidence. Verification remains successful only if the score is above a predetermined benchmark.

The earliest attempts for facial recognition at the beginning of the 21st century failed because there were very few parameters collectively responsible for generating this score. Nevertheless, the advancement in the algorithms now provides the ability to verify a person with an extremely small probability of error.

Experts at CabStartup integrate facial recognition features in the platform once a client requests for it. The number of requests for this integration is markedly increasing since the South Carolina incident.

Successful Implementation in Other Industries

The success is evident from the use of this technology in a range of other cases. Smartphone unlock remains the most notable case. Apple added the face unlock feature with iPhone X. This feature generated a massive response as customers shared largely encouraging reviews. Almost all major smartphone manufacturers have successfully introduced face unlock in their products.

Moreover, face recognition is now widely used by security agencies and metropolitan administrations around the world to maintain law and order. China has implemented the largest city surveillance scheme with over a billion cameras.

Previous attempts at ensuring ride-hailing safety

Uber and Lyft have introduced a number of software features and policies in the past to increase safety of drivers and passengers. The industry is witnessing a wide spectrum of features, policies and standards introduced over the past few years.

Notable security features
  1. The riders get in-app reminders to verify license plate and car type with the information available in driver’s details. They receive this reminder as soon as the driver changes status to “arrived” at the rider’s location.
  2. The riders can share trip details and real-time location with anyone in their contact list. This feature enables the receiving body to track the ride as long as the GPS location of rider is active.
  3. Uber made it mandatory for drivers to take snap selfies from an option available inside the app. These selfies are then shared with the admin panels to ensure Uber driver identity verification.
  4. There are automated software systems that alert passengers when a vehicle goes significantly off track from paths that lead to the destination.
  5. Uber announced a feature that would allow both drivers and passengers to report unwelcoming behaviorin real time so that the administrations can take action in time.
  6. There are panic buttons already integrated in Uber and Lyft that allow riders to call 911 instantly. An action of pushing this button shares the details of the ride including the identity of driver and vehicle. It also shares a real-time location with the authorities.
Notable policies and standards
  1. Lyft suggests riders to compare pictures on ID and driver license. However, this policy is not likely to work because the picture on the license is usually old and the current appearance of the driver might markedly vary.
  2. Lyft also recently announced driver education prior to registration. The company executives state that the courses included in the training are vast enough to educate drivers about their role and limitation on the job.
  3. Both Uber and Lyft claim to perform background checks for drivers’ track record. They state that each driver’s record is also verified for the criminal free background.
  4. The companies check in with riders and drivers to find if they need help. This development usually occurs if the administrators feel an unexpected behavior of ride. For instance, the passengers and drivers in a vehicle going off track from destination often receive check-in calls.
Be sure your riders and drivers are safe

The ban on Uber in London was an unfortunate development. You need to be sure that your taxi business or ride-hailing startup does not meet the same fate in any part of the world.

The facial recognition feature integrated with CabStartup provides remarkable precision. The technology has been tested by our development team in a large number of cases including blur images and snaps from various angles.

You can test the CabStartup platform right now and continue to use it for two weeks without being charged. Start your free trial today.

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