No stranger to progress, American transportation company Uber has been growing at a steady pace. Apart from getting a major makeover last year and slowly putting conventional taxis out of business, Uber has also been working in conjunction with other companies in order to provide its customers with a better commuting experience.
This time, though, it seems that working with market leaders Apple and Google just isn't enough. Uber now plans to rely less on third-party programs such as Google Maps by getting its own mapping data, and it looks like the next area that it has set its sights on is the city of Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia.
Getting Data Without The Traffic
This isn't the first densely populated area that the company has mapped by itself. Last year, Uber was already making efforts to map out streets in Mexico, South Africa, Canada, and the United Kingdom — areas where people most use the app.
Instead of adding more of their cars and adding to traffic, Uber simply fits devices that gather mapping data onto driver vehicles in the area. These vehicles then gather data on the various routes that they pass through while still getting passengers to their locations.
While this may seem like a cause for concern among users of the Uber app, the company assures that imagery for initial pick-up and drop-off locations will not be recorded.
A Solo Road Trip
This is an attempt to get a better layout of the areas that Uber provides its services.
"Existing maps are a good starting point, but some information isn't that relevant to Uber, like ocean topography," says head of product Manik Gupta in an Uber blog post. "There are other things we need to know a lot more about, like traffic patterns and precise pick-up 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."
Uber hopes that this will help give its customers a more tailored experience when using the app. In providing a more accurate representation of areas and better serving its customers, this departure from former partner Google looks to be a good use of Uber's $500 million investment in its own mapping project.
Mapping The Rest Of The Land Down Under
If the mapping venture of Gold Coast is successful, Uber plans to bring their mapping vehicles to other parts of Australia, thereby increasing their range and providing transportation to more people outside of Queensland.