Latest in Culture

Image credit:

Uber will use high-res satellite imagery to improve pickups

"God View" is becoming more literal.
Steve Dent, @stevetdent
July 20, 2016
Share
Tweet
Share

Sponsored Links

Uber will soon use high-resolution satellite imagery from DigitalGlobe to help drivers find passengers. According to a press release from DigitalGlobe, the ridesharing company will use its satellites "to help identify and improve pickup and drop-off locations." Uber recently bought mapping company deCarta and is using Microsoft's Bing vehicle imagery tech, so the DigitalGlobe deal will further extend its mapping efforts.

DigitalGlobe was the company that convinced the US government to lift its image resolution restrictions on private satellites. Shortly after, it launched its WorldView-3 constellation that can detect images as small as 12 inches (30cm) across. It can also scan short-wave infrared frequencies, letting it see forest fires through smoke that would block other satellites, for instance.

There's no mention of Uber's ambitious self-driving vehicles in relation to the high-resolution imagery, but mapping is clearly key to the program. And unlike Google Maps or other sat views, DigitalGlobe can provide current maps with more detail than other private systems.

Uber has been criticized for misusing its "God View" to secretly follow clients, but now lets you opt out of any tracking. It's unlikely that the DigitalGlobe tech could be used to track anyone, given that you'd need to rent a satellite for a fixed period, which is bound to cost a fortune. With Uber's recent, possibly illegal efforts to dig up dirt on lawyers suing it, however, the company's shown it's not afraid to explore questionable options.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Comment
Comments
Share
Tweet
Share

Popular on Engadget

SpaceX scales back plans for Starship's first high-altitude flight

SpaceX scales back plans for Starship's first high-altitude flight

View
Windows XP source code leak sheds light on Microsoft's OS history

Windows XP source code leak sheds light on Microsoft's OS history

View
Dark mode is coming to WhatsApp for Android

Dark mode is coming to WhatsApp for Android

View
The best wireless workout headphones

The best wireless workout headphones

View
SpaceX's reused rockets will carry national security payloads for the first time

SpaceX's reused rockets will carry national security payloads for the first time

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr