Uber, being Silicon Valley’s highest valued private company, is now planning to invest $500 in building its own global mapping project to shift its reliance from Google Maps. Currently, this project is headed by Brian McClendon, the former Head of Google Maps and work has been started in USA and Mexico. Uber is mapping vehicles to collect data for maps and is also looking forward to expanding this program in other countries as well. DigitalGlobe is also assisting Uber in this process.
Why Shift From Google Maps?
Currently Uber makes use of Google Maps. However, with Google having raised the fees for its service, it has become more cost effective for Uber to become independent from it. In addition to this, Google Maps are generally also less accurate in the case of developing countries, causing inconvenience for both Uber drivers and passengers. Also, Uber plans to create a more effective version of these maps that specifically cater to its requirements such as providing information on traffic patterns and specific pick up and drop off points.
Relations Between Google And Uber
Google Ventures had been an early investor in Uber, and it is speculated that it still has about 7% stakes in Uber. However, both companies now have different priorities. Furthermore, as both Uber and Google are working on self-driving cars and might be in direct competition in the near future, Uber will be at a disadvantage if it does not develop its own mapping technology and continues to rely on Google.
Considering that Uber is currently operating in sixty different countries, developing its own geographical data will positively contribute to its existing services and growth potential. In addition to this, this new mapping technology will also assist Uber in developing specific data collection mechanisms for its future projects such as robot cars.