Uber to create worldwide maps with $500m investment
Uber is focused on enhancing its mapping technologies and moving away from Google Maps
Ride-hailing company Uber is moving away from its reliance on Google Maps, with a $500m investment to create its own worldwide maps.
According to The Financial Times, Uber is planning to "pour $500m into an ambitious global mapping project," to develop its own detailed maps.
In an Uber blog post by Brian McClendon, the former head of Google Maps, stated: "For over a decade, I helped lead that effort as the head of Google Maps. Today I lead Uber's mapping efforts to ensure we can provide a safe, reliable ride - no matter where you are. To do that, Uber uses a mix of mapping technologies (including our own) to provide the underlying infrastructure for our apps.
"Existing maps are a good starting point, but some information isn't that relevant to Uber, like ocean topography. There are other things we need to know a lot more about, like traffic patterns and precise pickup and drop-off locations. Moreover, we need to be able to provide a seamless experience in parts of the world where there aren't detailed maps, or street signs."
Reports suggest that the investment will eventually be deployed in Uber's self-driving cars. Uber has not yet stated whether the maps will be developed in-house or outsourced.
As of late, Uber has been expanding its mapping development into Mexico with the use of street imagery captured by its mapping cars. McClendon added: "Our efforts are similar to what other companies including Apple and TomTom are already doing around the world."