SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – Uber is utilizing selfie technology to make sure both its drivers and passengers wear face masks to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
The ride-sharing company has been requiring drivers and riders to wear masks since May, but only required drivers to use its technology to verify their face coverings.
“Before starting to drive passengers or deliver food, they are asked to take a selfie showing their mouth and nose are covered,” Uber wrote in a press release.
Now, the requirement is being expanded to passengers as well. If a driver reports that a rider isn’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.
“With the addition of this new feature, one driver’s feedback can help ensure the safety of Uber for the next driver,” said Uber.
The mask verification feature will roll out to the U.S. and Canada by the end of September, and across Latin America and other countries after that.
Uber assured that the mask verification tool detects the mask as an object in the photo and does not process biometric information.
“As always, riders and drivers are free to cancel a trip, without penalty, if the other person isn’t wearing a mask,” Uber wrote. “As more and more riders and drivers take their ‘second first trip,’ we hope this increased accountability provides more peace of mind.”
The additional safety measures are part of Uber's efforts to rebuild a service that has seen ridership plunge by 56% in the company's most recent quarter, The Associated Press reports.