Uber is really committed to map the planet earth. In Singapore the ridesharing outfit has started rolling out map cars putting the vehicles on Major five continents except Antarctica for obvious reasons. Based on real commutes the cartographic cars are really driver rides with mapping tech on top to collect data. Uber promised that privacy will not be an issue because “they won’t keep imagery from the end points of your trip, and what data they do collect won’t be made public.”
Uber still is very far away from having comprehensive mapping data of its own. Except for North America Uber has mapping hardware deployed in only one country per continent. This is really far from ideal if you want map the world. But despite everything this is an important step towards future planning. The company has a strong incentive to collect as much of its own data as possible despite it being heavily reliant on Google Maps for its current mapping systems. At a minimum, this means maps that reflect the harder-to-pinpoint aspects of routes, such as the exact side of a building for a drop-off. This mapping will also help Uber in its aspiration of self driving cars specially in Singapore. This is only country in Asia that embraced autonomous tech very quickly. When robotic ridesharing becomes commonplace Uber’s investment will pay in full dividends.