Right now Uber relies heavily on Google Maps for its navigation, and that’s not a bad thing. Google Maps is one of the most popular mapping solutions available right now, but we suppose from a business point of view, you’re still relying on another company, which means changes made to the service could be good or bad news depending on what it is.


This is why it doesn’t come as a surprise to learn that a report from the Financial Times (paywall; via Reuters) claims that Uber has plans to invest as much as $500 million into their own global mapping project, meaning that ultimately the company could be planning on reducing their reliance on Google for mapping information in the future.

It would also no doubt help to contribute to the company’s plans for driverless cars. In a post on Uber’s website, Brian McClendon writes, “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 dropoff 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.”

He adds, “The street imagery captured by our mapping cars will help us improve core elements of the Uber experience, like ideal pick-up and drop-off points and the best routes for riders and drivers. Although our imagery collection efforts are focused now in Mexico, we plan to expand these efforts to other countries soon.”

Filed in Transportation. Read more about Google Maps and Uber.

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