Uber has recently raised $13.5 billion in investments and recent investors have valued it at $62.5 billion, making it the highest valued private company in Silicon Valley. And Uber seems to be putting the big bucks to some good use. The Financial Times reports that the cab-hailing company is spending $500 million on mapping the whole world!
Uber currently uses Google Maps to power their app. Their decision in mapping the world would allow them to become independent from Google Maps, particularly after Google raised fees for other companies who use their service. Furthermore, Google Maps are less accurate especially in Asian countries where drivers have to ask for directions.
Currently, Uber is using mapping vehicles in the USA and Mexico where they are gathering data on their surroundings and images for maps. Such mapping vehicles are expected to be rolled out to other countries soon. Assisting Uber in their efforts is DigitalGlobe, a satellite imaging technology company, and Brian McClendon, former Head of Google Maps who will be leading Uber’s global mapping.
By developing their own maps, Uber could offer more accurate directions to their drivers. It would also play a vital role in their driverless cars which they hope to launch in the future.
We sense a potential rivalry brewing between Uber and Google.
Source – The Financial Times