How much is it worth to Uber to reduce its dependence on Google Maps? Try half a billion dollars.
That is how much the San Francisco-based ride-hailing company is getting ready to invest in an ambitious global mapping project, the Financial Times reports Sunday. In addition to weaning itself off Google's map app, which currently powers Uber, the investment is expected to aid the move to driverless vehicles, according to the report.
Fresh off raising $3.5 billion last month, the 6-year-old company is using some of its $11 billion war chest to reinvent public transportation. Other companies working on technologies to support driverless cars include Google, Ford, Nissan and General Motors.
In a bid to get an edge on the competition, Uber has partnered with satellite imaging company DigitalGlobe, the company that provides much of the imagery for Google Maps, Google Earth and TerraServer.
Uber did not immediately respond to a request for comment.