Uber wants you to give its app a 'Rogue One' makeover

"It's a (cheap marketing) trap!"


Rogue One is almost upon us, so what better way to scoot around town then in the back of an X-Wing? Okay, so Uber hasn't made a road-worthy starfighter replica. Instead, it's teamed up with Disney for a -- wait for it, and try not to shudder -- brand "activation." In non-advertiser lingo, that means you'll see a new Star Wars card inside the Uber app. Tap "activate" and the cars on the map will turn into Rebellion spaceships. (The hope being, presumably, that you'll pretend you're rolling with Jyn Erso and the gang.) You'll also get the option to watch "never-before-seen curated video content," which probably means a slightly re-cut trailer or featurette.

Marketing nonsense? Absolutely. But it's also a hint at our possible self-driving future. If your hands aren't on the wheel, automakers and brands have an opportunity to pump adverts and branded content into your eyeballs. Uber is already testing this concept with its ride-hailing app, while human chauffeurs shuttle passengers around the world. It's also trialling self-driving cars in Pittsburgh and autonomous, Budweiser-laden trucks in Colorado -- so a future in which the two are combined might not be too far off. If the idea makes you bristle, don't worry, you're not alone. For now, let's just focus on the fact a new Star Wars movie is coming out...