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Photo: Reuters

Uber adds TomTom digital maps to its smartphone apps

The car-hailing service Uber Technologies Inc. struck a deal with the Dutch navigation company TomTom NV that will allow Uber to use their digital maps and traffic data on its smartphone app in addition to other companies’ services.

An Uber spokesperson said that the new navigational tools “will contribute to the navigation experience,” TechCrunch reports. The new data is specifically for Uber drivers, not passengers.

TomTom will provide Uber driver app users with traffic data and digital maps in more than 300 cities worldwide, the Dutch company said. The financial details of the deal were not released; however, both companies describe the deal as multi-year.

“We are excited to provide Uber with our best-in-class location data,” Charles Cautley, Managing Director Maps & Licensing at TomTom, said in a statement. “TomTom is a truly independent map provider with the platform for the future. With this platform, TomTom is the trusted partner for innovative and future proof location technology for the global automotive and consumer technology industry.”

“We look forward to working with TomTom, a leader in the mapping and navigation space,” Head of Product Partnerships at Uber Matt Wyndowe said. “Their mapping and traffic data will help ensure we continue to provide a great experience for drivers everywhere.”

Again, Uber is just providing TomTom’s services for drivers. And Google Maps or any other services used currently will still be available.

An Uber spokesperson told TechCrunch said that the service is “part of the mix now.” “We use a variety of sources in addition to Google Maps, and will continue to,” the spokesperson added.

TomTom gives mapping data for its own range of GPS-navigation hardware, but it also uses third parties, with data particularly strong in cities and urban areas. Apple became one of its several partners on its Maps application after Apple ditched Google.

After the news broke, shares for TomTom–valued around $2.6 billion–were up 5 percent.

Uber is in the business of adding new technologies in an effort to speed up its global expansion, according to the Wall Street Journal. The company also wants to update its services as new automotive technologies, like self-driving cars, are developed.

This comes at a time when Uber is facing a lot of competition from a wave of other app-based transportation services, though many are focused on local markets rather than a global one. We will see how it affects Uber drivers and the company’s expansion! But if this many mapping services can’t get people from point A to point B, then I don’t know what will.

About Meredith Rodefer

Meredith Rodefer
Meredith Rodefer is a freelance writer, who focuses on anything from lifestyle blogging to hard news, and dancer. Beyond Youth Independent, she has written for sites such as Natmonitor.com, CheekyChicago.com and FamilyFocusBlog.com. Contact Meredith: meredith.rodefer@youthindependent.com