Uber is trying to move away from its Google Maps-dependent platform. According to the Financial Times, the company is investing US$500 million in a global mapping initiative.
Uber is already using vehicles across the United States (and now Mexico) to map locations and collect images.
Brian McClendon, vice president of advanced technologies at Uber, explained that Google Maps was a good starting point for the company because it was able to leverage some existing technologies. Going forward, Uber wants to provide users with more relevant data such as traffic patterns and precise pickup and drop-off locations, and that means creating its own maps, he explained.
“Accurate maps are at the heart of our service and the backbone of our business,” McClendon wrote in a release. “The ongoing need for maps tailored to the Uber experience is why we’re doubling down on our investment in mapping.”
According to McClendon, the new mapping platform will aim to improve the overall Uber experience by providing more precise locations and routes. The Financial Times also reported that Uber having its owns mapping platform can help it with its driverless car initiative as it is designed to provide safe and reliable rides.
“Over the past decade, mapping innovation has disrupted industries and changed daily life in ways I couldn’t have imagined when I started,” wrote McClendon. “That progress will only accelerate in the coming years especially with technologies like self-driving cars. I remain excited by the prospect of how maps can put the world at our fingertips, improve everyday life, impact billions of people and enable innovations we can’t even imagine today.”