Uber is to roll out a selfie feature on its app so that drivers can verify that some runners are wearing face masks.
It will apply to runners who have already been notified not to wear a mask.
The selfie scanner, which will be in use in the United States and Canada by the end of September and other areas thereafter, will look for a mask-like mask over the mouth and nose.
Currently, drivers are required to take a mask selfie every day before starting work.
If the scanner does not detect that the driver is wearing a mask, they cannot use the app to pick up passengers.
Uber introduced a “No Mask No Ride” policy on May 18 and extended it indefinitely due to the ongoing pandemic, requiring drivers and riders to wear face masks at all times during a ride.
Drivers and passengers can cancel a trip free of charge if they report that the other party is not wearing a mask. Failure to do so may result in the deactivation of the account.
Demand for carpooling trips fell sharply during the coronavirus lockdown, particularly in the United States.
In a tweet, Uber boss Dara Khosrowshahi said the move was aimed at protecting drivers and passengers. “We’re all in the same boat,” he says.
Uber said it hopes the feature will be a useful reminder of its policy for customers who are just returning to the service.
‘No facial recognition’
“We really wanted to make sure that we are targeting this feature on runners who may just be coming back to the platform and who may not be aware of our mask policy,” said Sachin Kansal, senior director of product management at Uber.
Uber said the selfie feature doesn’t use facial recognition technology, but simply detects the mask as an object on the face.
The company said it would keep the selfie photos for 96 hours to sort out potential disputes, but then permanently delete them, Uber said.
Uber says it has allocated $ 50million (£ 37million) in masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, sprays and wipes for drivers. The company said it has distributed masks to 1.4 million drivers around the world.