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Here's how selfies will keep you safe when hailing an Uber

Uber drivers will be taking more selfies than teenagers.

Uber now requires that drivers periodically take a selfie that will then be compared to an image on file. The selfie requirement is part of Uber's Real-Time ID Check that utilizes Microsoft Cognitive Services to ensure riders know exactly who their driver is. Before going online and sporadically in between their work hours, Uber drivers will be asked to take a selfie. Verification, Uber claims, only takes a few seconds. If the image doesn't match the one on file, the Uber driver's account will be temporarily blocked.

The selfie program was first instituted in China earlier this year, with select cities in the US, which include New York, Atlanta, Miami, and Los Angeles, requiring drivers to use the technology. But the safety feature will now be expanded to the entire nation. Joe Sullivan, Uber's security chief, claims that more than 99 percent of drivers were verified during the company's testing period over the past few months in a blog post on the company's website.

Microsoft Cognitive Services is in charge of doing the comparisons, with Uber stepping in if the images don't match one another. According to a report by The Washington Post, Sullivan stated the technology did have some issues during the pilot stage, where the software would require drivers to take a selfie while the vehicle was in motion and to reduce "false-positive deactivations" for drivers with glasses. Some Uber drivers are sure to grumble with the new measure to post a selfie every couple of hours, but riders will definitely appreciate the safety feature that will reduce the risk of getting into a vehicle with the wrong person.

Earlier this year, Uber rolled out various safety features including using GPS and smartphone technology that detects dangerous driving behavior, sends daily driving reports to drivers, offers driver reminders, and more. It's likely that Uber will continue to roll out new and improved safety features... at least until the company manages to replace human drivers once and for all.

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