Towards the end of last week, we reported that Apple is developing an update for the latest model of iPhones that would essentially bring back Touch ID, an unlock feature replaced by far more convenient facial recognition software. Since everyone is wearing a face mask out of safety (and courtesy), iPhones without Touch ID were struggling to unlock — given the circumstances. Now, it seems that Uber is working on similar tech, except this time it’s to make sure masks are being worn.
It’s news like this that makes us think maybe the whole coronavirus pandemic will be around longer than we had initially expected because… these measures? These are long term precautions to be developing at a time where many hope the virus is slowly disappearing.
Uber confirmed to Engadget that it is developing new software for its app that will detect whether drivers are wearing a face mask. Given that most countries where Uber is operating require drivers to use medical masks to at least minimise the risk of spreading COVID-19, it’s probably a good idea that Uber ensures its drivers are sticking to those guidelines. Even if the implications of constantly monitoring its workforce is a little creepy.
Given that Uber implements a real-time ID check that requires drivers to periodically snap pictures of themselves, one can assume that a mask-monitoring system would be incorporated into that feature. Uber already supplies drivers with masks and disinfectant for their vehicles, but has no way of knowing whether these measures are being followed. Hence the company looking into a way of tracking that activity.
Whether the extra precautions are enough to carry Uber through this tumultuous time remains to be seen. Ride sharing apps have obviously taken a hit, with lockdowns and quarantines spreading across the world. Claims have spread that Uber is looking to lay off around 20% of their staff but take that with a pinch of salt. While a rumour like that certainly sounds possible, reports have yet to be verified. Weird times, folks. Weird times.