Accurate maps are at the core of providing reliable transportation to everyone and everywhere. Uber has rolled out mapping vehicles in South African cities, beginning with Cape Town. The efforts can be compared to Google Street View vehicles. Uber uses a mix of mapping technologies to provide the underlying infrastructure for its apps. The fleet of cartographers is equipped with rooftop cameras, which will record street imagery of their surroundings, during rides around picking up passengers.
Data collected by Uber’s mapping vehicles will be used to improve driver efficiency by calculating more accurate estimated time of arrival and supporting drivers to choose the best route from one point do another.
Cape Town is one of Uber’s priority markets in Africa. There will be approximately 12 of these vehicles in Cape Town, followed by other cities in South Africa. Earlier this year we put mapping cars on the road in Mexico, Canada and the United Kingdom. Uber has spent $500 million on its global mapping project.
On the question of privacy – if you catch a ride, the devices do not retain any imagery at or around your initial pick-up or final drop-off locations. The imagery neither will be posted online, nor be made available to the public. Uber will also accept reasonable requests to delete recorded images.