Have you ever gotten into a cab and then felt worried because the driver isn’t the same person whose picture is shown in the app? It’s a common problem and Ola is now taking steps to address this with the testing of a new selfie-based facial recognition process for drivers.
Divers who have low ratings or negative feedback will be asked to take selfies at random times, in order to authenticate that the person who is driving is the same person who is registered with Ola, reports Deccan Herald. Ola will ask the driver for authentication between rides, and its training video says the driver should pull over, and use the flash on his phone if it’s dark outside to take the selfie. This is being rolled out as a trial which will be expanded over time.
This development comes just days after Ola filed a police complaint against one of its drivers for letting a proxy ferry passengers. The proxy driver was accused of misbehaving with a passenger when she objected to a waiting charge on July 10 — he allegedly abused her and then threw a slipper at her.
The woman then filed a complaint against the registered Ola driver, but a police investigation revealed that the man who misbehaved was a proxy. Ola is now seeking legal action against both men. Its complaint states that the incident was an act of unauthorised login which amounts to criminal breach of trust, identity theft, and defaming the company.
Uber also announced a system of facial recognition for drivers last year and, like the measure that Ola has just announced, it’s meant to prevent proxy drivers from accepting rides. However, that is just one of the problems that passengers have been facing when using cab aggregators, and a bigger question of safety lingers.
In recent months, there have been a number of incidents where Ola and Uber drivers allegedly misbehaved with passengers, including an incident in Bengaluru where a woman was allegedly forced to strip and pose for photos by an Ola driver while en route the airport.
After that particularly horrific incident, the government has said that it will talk to taxi aggregators to provide an “exclusive women pooling” option, senior government officials told The Hindustan Times.