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Uber begins mapping the streets of London

The ride-sharing service's cartographic cars will create maps to help improve its ability to get a car to you when you need one.

The streets of London already boast an array of instantly recognisable vehicles, from black taxis to red buses. And starting Friday, visitors to the British capital will see Uber cars equipped with scanners and mapping equipment pootling around as well.

Following in the tyretracks of Google's Street View cars and other mapping vehicles, Uber's cartographic cars will map London. The goal is to improve Uber's ability to match you with nearby drivers, get them to you quickly, and give you an accurate estimated arrival time. To do this, Uber wants to look at traffic patterns and also map precise pick-up and drop-off locations.

Uber currently uses a mix of mapping technology from Apple, Google and TomTom.

Uber's mapping plans are outlined in a blog post by Brian McClendon, Uber's VP of maps and business platforms, who was previously head of Google Maps and one of the people behind Google Earth. Uber is already mapping US cities, and Mexico City and Toronto are next on the list.

Meanwhile, Uber this week launched its first self-driving cars in Pittsburgh, because apparently we live in the future. Find out more in this handy self-driving video:

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