Zipcar Uses Facial Recognition for Instant Membership

A Zipcar customer uses the mobile app to locate a vehicle. Photo courtesy of Zipcar.
A Zipcar customer uses the mobile app to locate a vehicle. Photo courtesy of Zipcar.

Zipcar has launched new features that enable prospective members to sign up, join, and drive a vehicle directly through the Zipcar mobile app.

New members who join Zipcar through the mobile app will be verified by matching their valid driver's license with facial recognition technology or "selfie software." A near-instant membership approval process will enable the member to unlock a vehicle in minutes using only their smartphone, according to Zipcar.

"At Zipcar, we know that consumers decide to join our service for a variety of reasons,” said Andrew Daley, Zipcar’s vice president of marketing. “Often it is thoroughly planned, but other times members want access instantly when they hit an unexpected need — like having to buy large furniture without a car or to get somewhere that transit doesn't reach. The ability to join and drive right through one's phone in a matter of minutes furthers our goal of providing members with access to simple and convenient mobility."

Up until this point, Zipcar has exclusively utilized RFID-enabled Zipcards for members to access a reserved vehicle. Members who join through the app will now be able use their mobile device to unlock and lock a Zipcar, eliminating the need to wait for a Zipcard to arrive in the mail or pick it up at a local Zipcar office. Zipcar will continue to support Zipcards for the foreseeable future, according to the company.

New members who join through Zipcar's mobile app will be prompted to take a photo of their valid license as well as a "selfie" to authenticate the application, according to the company. The facial recognition software requires users to blink while taking a photo of themselves to ensure that Zipcar is matching the license to its owner. Once a member has been approved, he or she can instantly reserve a Zipcar vehicle.

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