Uber to invest $500m in mapping project to skirt Google Maps: Report

Uber wants to reduce its reliance on Google Maps and improve its pickups.
Written by Jake Smith, Contributor
Uber driverless car

Uber plans to invest $500 million into a global mapping project that will decrease (and eventually nix) its dependency on Google Maps, according to the Financial Times.

The report says the ride-hailing service has mapping vehicles across the US and Mexico gathering data and images, with other countries planned.

Currently, Uber is essentially run on Google Maps, as it allows drivers to pickup passengers and navigate them to a destination.

While Google is an early investor in Uber, the original research from Uber's own mapping efforts could help improve its experience by selecting better drop-off points or routes.

"In fact, Uber wouldn't exist if comprehensive interactive digital maps hadn't been created first," Brian McClendon, Uber's map guru, said. "For over a decade, I helped lead that effort as the head of Google Maps. Today I lead Uber's mapping efforts to ensure we can provide a safe, reliable ride -- no matter where you are. To do that, Uber uses a mix of mapping technologies (including our own) to provide the underlying infrastructure for our apps."

Further, Bloomberg reports the detailed maps from Uber could accelerate its autonomous car testing on roads in Pittsburgh.

An Uber representative could not be reached for comment to confirm the reports.

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