Uber relies heavily on Google Maps, but it turns out that the company is preparing to stand on its own. According to the Financial Times, Uber plans to invest half a billion dollars in the creation of their own worldwide maps, a crucial step towards the use of autonomous cars.
The Financial Times reported that the company is trying to “pour $500 million in an ambitious global mapping project,” which will allow the company to create their own detailed maps. According to Brian McClendon, relies entirely on existing maps has been a “good starting point”, but do not provide the granular level of detail that the company could use, for example, traffic patterns, the location of doors, or other potential pickup locations. This new investment will allow the company to build a specially developed maps that provide this level of detail.
Detailed maps are required for Uber operation and its future. The company started in some of the early stages of use of autonomous vehicles that are highly dependent on accurate maps. Company hires former Google employees, such as McClendon, the acquired mapping companies, and has partnered with companies such as TomTom and DigitalGlobe.