62 stories
·
3 followers

Uber to Invest $500 Million in Global Mapping Project Led By Google Earth Creator

1 Comment
Ride hailing company Uber is planning to spend $500 million on a global mapping project in an effort to reduce its reliance on Google Maps, according to The Financial Times.

The San Fransisco-based company already has mapping vehicles recording geographical data around the U.S. and Mexico. With Uber's presence in over 60 countries, the significant expansion reflects its continuing growth and adds to its existing investment in original research like driverless cars.

uber_ios_trip_history
Last year, it hired world-leading digital mapping expert Brian McClendon, who previously ran Google Maps and was one of the creators of Google Earth.

McClendon will be responsible for the mapping project, and recently commented on the plans in a blog post without mentioning the $500 million figure:
The ongoing need for maps tailored to the Uber experience is why we're doubling down on our investment in mapping. Our efforts are similar to what other companies including Apple and TomTom are already doing around the world.

The street imagery captured by our mapping cars will help us improve core elements of the Uber experience, like ideal pick-up and drop-off points and the best routes for riders and drivers.
Address data in Google Maps is typically less accurate in developing countries, resulting in some Uber drivers having to call passengers to ask for their location before a pick-up. Uber hopes to nix these problems and feed the traffic pattern and location data already gathered by its cars into its own mapping system, thereby also avoiding charges for using Google Maps.

News of Uber's multi-million-dollar mapping investment was partially eclipsed by reports over the weekend that Chinese ride-hailing service Didi Chuxing is to acquire its Chinese operations in a $35 billion deal.

Apple's own $1 billion investment in Didi Chuxing back in May gave the Cupertino company access to data and expertise on electric and autonomous car technology, which is likely to help with its own car-related project, dubbed Project Titan, now led by veteran Apple executive Bob Mansfield.


Discuss this article in our forums

Read the whole story
maxkostow
779 days ago
reply
Seems like a waste for humanity to spend all this money duplicating data, but it does create jobs and trickle down to the people.
Brooklyn, New York
DMack
779 days ago
OpenStreetMap could benefit so much from $500M worth of work, lol
Share this story
Delete

Oregon lawmakers accidentally gave Comcast a big tax break

1 Comment and 2 Shares

(credit: Paramount/CBS)

When the Oregon legislature changed the state's tax rules last year, it was trying to convince Google Fiber to bring its high-speed Internet to Oregonians.

But lawmakers apparently didn't realize that the rule change would also hand a big tax break to Comcast. The new rule reduced property taxes for companies that offer gigabit-speed Internet service, which Google sells for $70 a month with no construction fees passed on to customers. But the rule change didn't specify that companies have to offer gigabit service at any particular price in order to qualify for the tax break. Comcast thus now qualifies for lowered property taxes because it offers 2Gbps Internet service, despite charging prices that would steer most ordinary customers to slower Internet speeds. Comcast's 2Gbps service costs $300 per month, with $1,000 in startup fees.

Rep. Phil Barnhart (D-Eugene) told utility regulators yesterday that the tax break was meant to spur investments in new networks and that legislators never considered that a company charging such high prices for gigabit service would get the tax break, according to The Oregonian. 

Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read the whole story
maxkostow
931 days ago
reply
The definition of "hoisted with his own petard"
Brooklyn, New York
Share this story
Delete

What UberX Drivers Actually Earn

3 Comments and 4 Shares

Emily Guendelsberger, in a thorough and thoroughly entertaining first-person story for Philadelphia City Paper:

I talked to lots of drivers. But few kept a meticulous enough log of hours worked, miles driven and expenses paid that I felt comfortable using their data alone. Many drivers worried about getting in trouble, too — Uber can “deactivate” a driver for any reason. I needed someone on the record, someone whose data I knew I could trust.

So, in January, I applied to be an UberX driver myself.

Eye-opening figures on what drivers actually earn. Brutal.

Read the whole story
maxkostow
1226 days ago
reply
I mean isn't the long game for uber to have no drivers and only driverless cars? It makes sense that they would favor the passengers over the drivers. They need to keep the passengers using the service but once driverless cars are common, they won't need any people to drive.
Brooklyn, New York
gazuga
1226 days ago
My biggest problem isn't with the mission but with their recruitment tactics and public statements about what drivers make. Drivers risk a lot for Uber. If their compensation is plunging and will continue to plunge by design, say that, not the opposite.
samuel
1226 days ago
reply
This was a superb article and I enjoyed reading it. However, I've starting using Uber a bit more regularly now. I take UberPools, which cost $7 for a trip anywhere in the city of SF. When my girlfriend and I are out and no bus is coming for twenty minutes, a common occurance here, UberPool is only $2.50 more expensive than taking the bus.

I'm not yet convinced to quit it since it makes my life so much easier. A 45 minute bus ride turns into a 10 minute worm hole and I'm not ready to give that up. I just feel like I don't have it in me to wait until the cars are autonomous, where the only labor I have to feel guilty about exploiting is my own.

Most of the time I just walk or bike.
The Haight in San Francisco
gazuga
1226 days ago
Same boat as you. Love the rider experience; adore the long term potential for logistical improvements to cities and taking cars off the road; hate Uber's approach to people. Uber's blog post about driver earnings after fare cuts looks like a crock of shit after Guendelsberger's calculations. I wonder if their executives will post a followup with better data or just threaten to stalk her.
norb
1225 days ago
Every time I've taken Uber I've opted for black car service. I feel like those people are professional drivers and Uber is a good way for them to supplement their driving income when they don't have other passengers. I have a problem with the croudsourced model of the regular Uber model so I do not use it as it seems like that is where most of the explotation comes in.
aranth
1225 days ago
Congrats, you're the problem.
trekkie
1212 days ago
isn't uberpool more 'i'm going that way anyway ride along' vs uberx is 'pay me to take you somewhere i'm not going'? I don't know, as uberpool isn't around here. I've used Uber in SF mostly on business, and it meant I got a ride where pre-cuber finding a cab was a bitch for early morning flight home. There has to be a happy medium between those.
samuel
1211 days ago
UberPool is handy because it only matches you with people going the same way, so your price is 30-40% less, although they're making more money, so everybody wins. Just gotta be comfy with having a couple other people in the car who may or may not get dropped off first.
Share this story
Delete
1 public comment
sarcozona
1218 days ago
reply
Less than a teenager scooping ice cream in the summer not so long ago

A$AP Rocky ft. Drake, 2 Chainz, Kendrick Lamar  . Fuckin’...

1 Share


A$AP Rocky ft. Drake, 2 Chainz, Kendrick Lamar  . Fuckin’ Problems

Read the whole story
maxkostow
1310 days ago
reply
Brooklyn, New York
Share this story
Delete

DJ Snake ft Lil Jon . Turn Down for What

1 Share


DJ Snake ft Lil Jon . Turn Down for What

Read the whole story
maxkostow
1310 days ago
reply
Brooklyn, New York
Share this story
Delete

How JavaScript is Going to Replace Node.js

1 Share

Node.js and its downward spiral into the black hole of politics and Immeritocracy™

Read the whole story
maxkostow
1425 days ago
reply
Brooklyn, New York
Share this story
Delete
Next Page of Stories