After deciding to create its own mapping technology and shift from Google Maps, Uber now has its own mapping vehicles on the road. Uber admitted to operating this program when an image of an Uber car with bizarre camera equipment on the roof was shared on Facebook; later the company itself also released more similar photographs.

Technology Used By Uber

Uber acquired the imagery collection technology, camera-clad car system and around 100 employees from Microsoft Bing Mapping team in June. This technology was featured in the Uber mapping car, which is actually a rebranded car containing a 3D spherical camera for collecting images. These snaps collected from different locations will eventually contribute in developing the mapping technology for Uber.

These cars are also essentially different from Uber’s self-driving car prototypes, as they are driven by human drivers. Plus, Uber believes that they are essential in getting better information on routes and more precise ETA calculations. However, the data collected in the process is not expected to replace immediately third party maps like Google Maps which Uber drivers extensively use, but it is expected to contribute definitely towards Uber own better and more specific mapping technology.

Why Does Uber Need Mapping Cars?

Uber is currently using Google Maps. However, to further develop its self-driving car technology it requires information that is more specific about traffic patterns and pick up and drop off locations. This information is integral for Uber as it allows it to manage to carpool more efficiently by creating complex algorithms which indicate whether a certain street can be passed through or not or whether certain turning restrictions apply on specific routes or not.

Future Implications

Uber’s use of Mapping Cars indicates its aim of improved service for its passengers by collecting mapping data that is more specific to Uber’s operations. Furthermore, in the future, the results from this initiative will also help Uber in developing its self-driving cars technology which would be dependent on artificial intelligence and reliable in-app directions options instead of Google Maps.

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