Behind every successful Uber ride is a technology many of us take for granted: maps. Mobile maps and GPS allow us to match you with the best available driver, navigate the fastest path to your destination, and give you an accurate estimated time of arrival (ETA). Accurate maps are at the heart of our service and the backbone of what we do.
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 pick-up and drop-off locations. We need to be able to provide a seamless experience in parts of the world where there aren’t detailed maps — or street signs. Feedback from riders and driver-partners in Singapore has also been a key motivation for us to improve mapping. So, we’re listening, responding, and investing to improve.
We’ve put mapping cars on the road in the United States, Mexico, Canada, the United Kingdom, South Africa and Australia. On Monday, 13 February 2017, we’re launching our mapping improvement efforts in Singapore, the first country in Southeast Asia for us to do so.
To accomplish this, we’ve equipped some vehicles used by driver-partners with our mapping devices. This allows us to collect the most important data — in places where Uber trips go — without putting more cars on the road.
Of course, we take the privacy of riders very seriously. If you catch a ride in one of these vehicles, know that the devices do not retain any imagery at or around your initial pick-up or final drop-off locations. There is no plan to make the imagery or other data collected available to the public.
Over the past decade, mapping innovation has disrupted industries and changed daily life in ways I couldn’t have imagined when I started. That progress will only accelerate in the coming years especially with technologies like self-driving cars. I’m 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. It’s the kind of smart innovation that will help move Singapore forward!
To learn more about our mapping efforts or keep track of upcoming cities, visit www.uber.com/mapping,
Director of Product