When Uber was launched in Sri Lanka, it was a bit of a hit or miss. On one hand, you had a choice of comfortable vehicles to choose from. But you had to pay using a credit or debit card.
Then you had a tiny inconveniences regarding the location where the driver wasn’t able to pinpoint your exact coordinates or the app showed you in a completely different location. All that may soon be in the past.
DigitalGlobe, a satellite imaging company that provides high-resolution aerial imagery to companies the likes of Apple and Google have struck up a partnership with Uber thus allowing the taxi hailing company to use satellite images via DigitalGlobe for its mapping needs.
The deal was announced via a blog post by DigitalGlobe where they explained how Uber is revolutionizing transportation by making the experience extremely simple. They also go on to explain how the imagery would help improve the Uber experience for riders and drivers. In addition, Uber would make use of DigitalGlobe’s technology to identify and improve pick-up and drop-off locations of their loyal customers rather than displaying maps to users of the Uber app.
Uber has also been working on its mapping division for quite some time now as high-definition maps are a vital part to its self-driving car project. Engineers from both Google and Carnegie Mellon University have been recruited into Uber’s mapping division, including one Brian McClendon who was the former head of Google Maps and is now in charge of Uber maps.
In a recent TED Talk, Travis Kalanick, CEO of Uber spoke about how Uber can cut congestion, pollution and parking by getting more people into fewer cars, all with the technology that we have in our own pockets. In the US alone, a total of 7 billion hours a year is spent sitting in traffic which roughly equates to 160 billion USD in lost productivity. The partnership with DigitalGlobal aims to put an end to all the madness and turn that loss into profit. This would be quite interesting to see in countries such as Sri Lanka where a traffic congestion is an everyday part of life.