Uber buys mapping startup deCarta for undisclosed sum

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By Larry Banks

Uber is said to be acquiring a mapping startup company called deCarta. At the moment, Uber uses Google Maps data to power the apps for drivers and passengers alike. However, the purchase suggests that the relationship may be short-lived.

Uber buys deCarta

That also may be a benefit to the Advanced Technologies Centre that Uber is constructing in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in order to research and develop mapping and vehicle safety and autonomy technologies.

The acquisition focuses mainly on the talent in the company and the technology – about 30 of deCarta’s 40 employees will make the move to Uber.

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick
Uber CEO Travis Kalanick.

deCarta was founded in 1996 as Telcontar, and has also powered lots of different mapping products, including those of Yahoo and Google. The company’s software platform includes local search, mapping, turn by turn navigation, and other location-based features, and will continue to function independently. Uber will be using the product internally as well.

“A lot of the functionality that makes the Uber app so reliable, affordable, and seamless is based on mapping technologies”, said an Uber spokesperson. “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.”

In February of this year, Brad Stone of Bloomberg reported that Google would offer its own ride-hailing service for its self-driving cars, citing source said to have knowledge of the plans. Google subsequently brushed this report off, but that may have contributed to Uber’s decision to improve its own mapping efforts.

RELATED: Uber raises another $1 billion from investors

The transport company has raised almost $6 billion so far in several rounds of funding, but this is the first confirmed acquisition.

SOURCE: Mashable

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