Amid rising concerns about criminal activity among ridesharing drivers, one service has found a way to confirm its chauffeurs’ identities by using face-recognition technology.
Careem, the Middle East’s version of Uber, has implemented a biometric identification system that allows the company to confirm its drivers’ identity in real time, according to the Khaleej Times. The face-recognition system, supplied by Digital Barriers, is designed to ensure the drivers have a clean record. It also can check if drivers are using a stolen car.
“When customers rely on a ride-hailing service or any other mode of transportation to go from point A to point B, they are also placing their trust on the service provider for their safety and security,” said Magnus Olsson, Co-founder and Chief Xperience Officer at Dubai-based Careem. “In our efforts to simplify people’s lives in the region, safety plays an unprecedented role and the integration of Digital Barriers’ facial recognition technology will further bolster the confidence and faith our users have in the Careem brand.”
Digital Barriers says its face-recognition technology is based on deep neural networks and its unique algorithms. This technology allows the UK-based company’s face-recognition search engine to deliver “unprecedented” speed and accuracy. The engine also can work with images captured from a wide variety of sources, including CCTV cameras, body cameras and mobile phones.
Face-recognition technology could provide a solution to a reported rash of crime among ridesharing drivers.
The public awareness project “Who’s Driving You?” has logged hundreds of incidents of drivers allegedly committing crimes, including 10 alleged kidnappings and 58 alleged assaults. It should be noted that “Who’s Driving You?” is an initiative of the Taxicab, Limousine & Paratransit Association (TLPA), which competes with the ridesharing business.
Recent ridesharing incidents include allegations that a Florida Uber driver raped a passenger.
There have also been cases where criminals have pretended to be ridesharing drivers. In one case, a man in Los Angeles posed as an Uber driver, picked up a female passenger, and sexually assaulted her.
Uber says it does conduct background checks of its drivers to ensure they have no major moving violations and a clean criminal record. However, critics have charged that these checks are ineffective without some kind of biometric verification, like fingerprinting.
The U.S. National District Attorneys Association (NDAA) recently passed a resolution recommending all drivers at ridesharing services submit to fingerprint-based criminal background checks.
However, Careem’s use of Digital Barriers’ system could open the door for the use of face-recognition technology as an alternative form of biometric identification at other ridesharing services around the world.
Nirel Marofsky is project analyst for the cognitive engine and application ecosystem at Veritone. She acts as a liaison to strategic partners, integrating developers and their capabilities into the Veritone Platform. Learn more about our platform and join the Veritone developer ecosystem today.