The Indian ride sharing company Ola is moving forward with its UK expansion efforts and is now onboarding new drivers in London. Licensed British drivers can register through the Ola app.
Unlike other ride sharing services, Ola is noteworthy for using facial recognition to provide continuous authentication of its drivers. The tech compares the driver’s face to the photo on their physical driver’s license to make sure the right person is behind the wheel and to prevent banned drivers from re-registering with the system.
Ola currently operates in more than 250 cities across India, Australia, New Zealand, and the UK. The service debuted in Great Britain in August of 2018, and has since expanded from Cardiff to Birmingham, Liverpool, Exeter, Reading, Bristol, Bath, Coventry, and Warwick. Drivers will begin serving passengers in London sometime within the next few weeks.
“We have built a robust mobility platform for London which is fully compliant with [Transport for London’s] high standards,” said Ola International Head Simon Smith. “We have had constructive conversations with the authorities, drivers, and local communities in London over the past months, and look forward to contributing towards solving mobility issues in innovative and meaningful ways.”
Facial recognition is not Ola’s only modern security feature. The company stores digital versions of documents like vehicle insurance certificates and driver’s licenses, while the Ola app can be used to contact emergency services or allow friends and family to follow the ride in real time. It also includes an emergency button that can notify Ola’s Safety Response Team.
Though it is not yet the norm, other transportation services have made use of facial recognition technology. Earlier this year, HyreCar partnered with Mitek to secure its car sharing app. The Taiwanese company Gogoro has similarly integrated it into its scooter-sharing GoShare app for rider authentication.
November 27, 2019 – by Eric Weiss