Uber Makes a Big Mapping Play, Hires 100 Bing Engineers

Josh WolfordBusiness

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Uber is continuing its quest for maps self reliance, and is set to acquire a chunk of Bing's mapping assets.

Both Microsoft and Uber confirmed the deal to TechCrunch, but wouldn't get specific on the terms.

The deal will see Uber absorb around 100 Microsoft data collection engineers.

A move this large proves that Uber really, really wants to get out from under Google's thumb and create its own, independent mapping technology. The team the Uber is taking from Microsoft helped collect and integrate Bing's 3D and street views.

Uber is taking many steps to create its own mapping infrastructure. Currently, Uber relies on other major mapping services (mainly Google) to operate its fleet of drivers – and the company naturally would like to be able to break those ties and map with its own technology. Earlier this year, Uber bought mapping company deCarta - both its tech and team.

Uber downplayed the acquisition, saying it would go to help improve existing products.

“A lot of the functionality that makes the Uber app so reliable, affordable and seamless is based on mapping technologies. With the acquisition of deCarta, we will continue to fine-tune our products and services that rely on maps –- for example UberPOOL, the way we compute ETAs, and others – and make the Uber experience even better for our users.”

But with today's big hiring news, there can be no doubt that Uber wants to build its own maps product from the ground up.

Earlier this month, Uber poached Google Engineering VP Brian McClendon to head its new Advanced Technologies Center. McClendon worked for over a decade as Google’s head of Maps, Google Earth, and Street View.

Uber's Advanced Technologies Center was created earlier this year in a partnership with Carnegie Mellon University. The research initiative is focusing on “mapping and vehicle safety and autonomy technology.”

Josh Wolford
Josh Wolford is a writer for WebProNews. He likes beer, Japanese food, and movies that make him feel weird afterward. Mostly beer. Follow him on Twitter: @joshgwolf Instagram: @joshgwolf Google+: Joshua Wolford StumbleUpon: joshgwolf