The recent murder of Samantha Josephson, a student at the University of South Carolina, aged 21, after mistakenly riding in a car that she believed was her driving Uber, made the National news – and rightly so.
This is a terrifying issue to a common mistake, as can be proven by anyone who has ever waited for a driver and headed to the wrong car. And he gave birth to Campaign #WhatsMyName, urging people to pay more attention to which car they ride.
Carpool companies like Uber and Lyft have added many features to their apps to improve driver safety – but this person was not his driver Uber. The situation was out of their control. It therefore seems difficult, if not impossible, to help protect people beyond what these carpool companies already do: share the make, model and color of the car, the name and the photo the driver and the license plate number of the car.
Lily: Uber will launch new efforts to inform the public about fake carpool drivers after the death of a student from the University of South Carolina
But there may be a solution to protect against false drivers with criminal intent or, in this case, to protect drivers against false passengers.
Specifically, one of Josephson's classmates, Sydney Ford, is pressuring Uber and Lyft to add QR codes to their apps that would easily match the driver to a passenger at the passenger's approach. So far, nearly 23,000 people have signed the petition on Change.org for the addition of these QR codes, and this number is increasing every hour.
While she is pushing for QR codes, other identity technologies could also work. Nowadays, many applications turn your phone into a personal identifier (known in the industry as the hardware security token), which could then be securely associated with the driver's ID.
The advantage of such an authentication system is that it would not only protect passengers against the risk of being in the wrong car of the driver, but would also help drivers to not take false passengers.
Lyft and Uber were both informed that the petition was ongoing but had not yet commented on it, the organization said. Lyft did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the idea of Business Insider.
Uber sent a statement expressing her sadness for the family, stating that she was working with law enforcement on the problem of false drivers since 2017 and promised to do more to raise awareness. He did not comment on this idea but pointed to other safety initiatives. He also said that he was working on a new system to send push notifications during pickup to remind people to make sure they get in the right car.