Uber is looking to wean itself off of a faith on Google Maps, and according to a Financial Times is peaceful to spend $500 million to do it.
“Existing maps are a good starting point, though some information isn’t that applicable to Uber, like sea topography,” writes Brian McClendon, Uber’s clamp boss of Advanced Technologies in a blog post.
“There are other things we need to know a lot some-more about, like trade patterns and accurate pickup and dropoff locations. Moreover, we need to be means to yield a seamless knowledge in tools of a universe where there aren’t minute maps — or travel signs.”
Uber would not criticism on a distance of a investment when contacted by USA TODAY.
The multi-billion dollar float pity use now relies on Google’s mapping complement for a app. This was useful as a app got off a ground, though as a association looks to enhance into self-driving cars and non-Western countries, having a possess precise mapping information will be key.
Google, by a Google Ventures division, was an early financier in Uber. With both companies posterior self-driving cars an over faith on Google’s maps could infer to be a disadvantage, quite as Google raises a fees for accessing a mapping use as the Financial Times reports.
Google-owned Waze also struck a understanding with Uber opposition Lyft progressing this year to yield a maps for a ride hailing app.
McClendon was a conduct of Google’s Maps multiplication before fasten Uber final year. In his post, McClendon records that nonetheless cars were on a highway in a U.S. final year, it is now focusing a mapping efforts to Mexico, with plans to enhance to other countries “soon.”
Uber has done investments into a possess mapping record in a past, final year purchasing tools of a imaging section of Microsoft’s Bing maps and deCarta, a association that supposing turn-by-turn navigation to GM’s OnStar and Ford’s Sync systems.
In November, the association struck a understanding with GPS builder TomTom to yield maps and trade data. In July, it reached an agreement with DigitalGlobe for high fortitude satellite imagery to urge pickup and dropoff locations.
The mapping news comes amid a bustling summer for Uber. In June, the association finished a $3.5 billion Series G turn that valued Uber during $62 billion. On Monday, Uber suggested it would be offered a China section to opposition Didi Chuxing in understanding that could be value as most as $35 billion.
Follow Eli Blumenthal on Twitter @eliblumenthal