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Middle East-based ride-hailing company Careem is using facial recognition technology to improve safety for passengers.

The software, from Digital Barriers, will be integrated into Careem’s driver smartphone application, so users can make sure the driver of the vehicle is authorised.

This is the first integration of Digital Barriers’ technology into a mainstream commercial application.

Careem, the region’s equivalent of Uber, operates in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt, Pakistan, Jordan, Morocco, Bahrain, Kuwait and Lebanon.

Magnus Olsson, co-founder of Careem, said the biometric technology would improve safety. “When customers rely on a ride-hailing service or any other mode of transportation to go from point A to point B, they are also placing their trust in the service provider for their safety and security,” he said.

“The biometric technology helps us strengthen our relationship with our users further by providing them with the reassurance that every [driver’s] credentials are being monitored at all times through a sophisticated network.”

Careem will also use the facial recognition technology to secure its driver enrolment process.

Zak Doffman, CEO at Digital Barriers, said service providers in various industries were looking to camera-embedded and smartphone application identity assurance as part of their business processes.

Separately, Careem has teamed up with NEXT Future Transportation to bring “battery-powered, self-driving electric pods” to the Middle East and North Africa. NEXT’s pods are described as a modular transport system and can drive individually or attached to others to form a bus-like structure, allowing passengers to move between the linked vehicles.

Careem said the pods would be safer, more efficient and more environmentally friendly than current vehicles and would reduce congestion. ……………………………………………………………………………………..

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