Uber's mapping efforts reach the Gold Coast


By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Monday, 16 January, 2017


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Uber has installed mapping devices in a number of its partner drivers’ vehicles at the Gold Coast, in the first Australian stage of a project to enhance its GPS and navigation capabilities.

The company will use the devices to collect mapping data focused on detail relevant to Uber drivers such as traffic patterns and precise pick-up and drop-off locations.

Uber Head of Maps Manik Gupta, former leader of Google Maps for over a decade, commented that the company first put mapping cards on the road in Mexico, Canada, the UK and South Africa late last year. Now the company is extending its effort to Australia, starting with the Gold Coast.

The devices will capture street imagery during Uber trips, but for privacy reasons will not retain any imagery at or around pick-up or drop-off destinations, Gupta said.

“The street imagery captured by our mapping devices will help us improve core elements of the Uber experience, like the best routes for riders and drivers, and identify street segments that are better suited for pick-ups and drop-offs.”

Uber currently uses a mix of mapping technologies including Google Maps for its mapping data, but has been stepping up efforts to develop its own mapping technology since it acquired Microsoft’s Bing mapping assets in early 2015.

Gupta added that as Uber’s mapping activity expands internationally the company will be able to provide superior services in parts of the world that do not have detailed maps or street signs.

“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 remain 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.”

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