COVID-19: Uber's new tech will ensure drivers wear protective masks
Uber has resumed operations in select Indian cities. The move marks a major relief for the public, but the ride-hailing giant is not leaving any loose ends when it comes to ensuring safety in the post-lockdown world. It has made masks mandatory for both riders and drivers and is now building a novel system to ensure that the rule is followed sincerely. Here's more.
Technology to check if drivers are wearing masks
Just recently, a CNN Business source familiar with the developments at Uber revealed that the cab-aggregator is developing a technology to check whether a driver is wearing a mask before they go online and start accepting rides. The system would play a major role in keeping drivers/riders protected from COVID-19 and has even been confirmed by Andrew Hasbun, Uber's Head of Safety Communications.
No word on how mask detection would work
While mask detection will make sure riders and drivers adjust in a world where COVID-19 is a constant threat, there is not much information available about its working. Hasbun did not provide specific details of the system, but many think it may have something to do with the Real-Time ID-Check face verification system the company occasionally uses to verify the identity of its drivers.
Other steps also being taken by Uber
Along with making masks mandatory and ensuring that they are worn, Uber is also asking passengers to refrain from sitting next to the driver. The company has issued safety guidelines that say riders should avoid traveling in large groups (not more than two people at a time), sanitize their hands before and after every ride, and take care of their stuff on their own.
Questions over India availability remain
Going by CNN's report, the detection system is being developed for countries like the US, where Uber is making masks mandatory for drivers and riders. Now, in India, Uber has restarted its operations and is encouraging the drivers and riders to wear masks, but there is no word from the company on when or if it will launch this tech.
Either way, mask requirement will certainly help Uber's business
In addition to safety, the step to ensure masks for drivers will also create a sense of trust, which can help Uber draw more riders and revive its business in markets that have been hit drastically by COVID-19-triggered lockdowns.