Uber reveals biometric safety plans for cab service
18 December 2014 12:04 GMT

Uber is initiating research and development on biometrics and voice verification

Cab-ordering firm Uber has announced it will use biometrics used to verify drivers’ identities following a string of controversies involving alleged assaults by its drivers.

Phillip Cardenas, the company’s global safety head wrote in a company blog that Uber wants to “leverage every smart tool at our disposal” to improve passenger safety.

In the United States, Uber’s background-verification process already includes checks of court records going back seven years; a multi-state criminal database; and the National Sex Offender Registry, according to Uber policy.

However, a harsh spotlight has been thrown on these checks both by reports such as an incident that emerged on Thursday where a Boston man who works as a driver allegedly beat, strangled and sexually assaulted a young woman he picked up.

Uber was also recently ordered to stop offering services in certain Indian cities by the government following an alleged rape by a driver in Delhi.

Cardenas said in his blog: “Our Safety Product Team is developing more ways to put technology to work to ensure the safety of riders and drivers in key areas. We are initiating research & development on biometrics and voice verification to build custom tools for enhanced driver screening.”

Following the outcry in India, nationwide firm Meru Cabs revealed plans to launch mobile biometric verification of drivers’ identities. Meru Cabs has been able to deploy a simple app on Android phone integrated to a fingerprint scanner or an iris scanner which connects to the Aadhaar database with an open API to verify if the Aadhaar number belongs to the same person, according to the firm.

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