As the coronavirus pandemic continues, Uber has decided to implement a new policy to ensure the safety of both their drivers and customers. The company announced Tuesday that passengers will soon be required to take a "mask selfie" before they can request a car, in order for the driver to ensure the customer has a mask on hand and that they are willing and ready to wear it.
“Earlier this year, we built innovative technology designed to verify that drivers on Uber and delivery people on Uber Eats are wearing a mask,” said Uber in a release.
In May, Uber announced a series of new rules aimed at enhancing safety during the pandemic. The company reduced the number of people allowed to ride in an Uber X vehicle and vowed to spend $50 million on supplies for drivers, such as face masks, hand sanitizer, and bleach wipes. That same month, the ride-share company rolled out the same face detection technology and have since required both riders and drivers to wear masks. But while most people have followed the rules, not everyone has complied.
“We firmly believe that accountability is a two-way street. That’s why we’re expanding the same technology to riders, too,” the company said. “If a driver reports to us that a rider wasn’t wearing a mask, the rider will be required to take a selfie with their face covered before they’re able to take another trip with Uber.”
According to Uber, the software can also detect whether or not the rider's mask is pulled up above his or her nose. They also stated that both riders and drivers are free to cancel a trip, without penalty, if the other person isn’t wearing a mask.
The mask verification feature will roll out to the US and Canada by the end of September and across Latin America and other countries after that. Uber also notes that this technology “does not process biometric information.”