India is a unique market for global technology companies, and that is evident from what cab aggregator Uber’s plans in the country. In an interaction with IE.com, Apurva Dalal, Head of Engineering, Uber India talked about the big areas where the company is focussing on providing newer services to its customers. The key areas include payments, products and routing. In terms of routing, Dalal said that ‘the whole calculation of time on maps has to be improved’. While for payments, ‘will see more options’ and when it comes to the app, the company aims to create ‘other products (that) may work for riders, besides the ones already present’. Dalal also confirmed that Uber might be exploring UPI (Unified Payment Interface) as a payment option. However, that has not been finalised yet.
Uber has reportedly developed a technology called Autohawk. It is a system which can connect the cabs to the cloud. This feature will update the car’s location on the map in real time, which it already does, but it will also provide information about the condition of the cars’ engine, gearbox, and other vehicular data. This move, according to Uber, will help commuters to make safe trips on Indian roads.
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In a developing country like India, internet connectivity is a major issue, as there are several areas where there is little or no connection to the web services. Additionally, Android has a much bigger market share in the country than iOS devices, where a huge chunk of users tends to have low-end smartphones. This means the app experience may not be as good as the company wants. Uber might be working on exploring newer ways to make the app more useful as well as let commuters book in offline mode too. “Another angle is if we can figure out a way for riders to book outside the app, which can be many things such as SMS, call, WhatsApp, etc,” Dalal told IE.
Uber has informed that it is looking at ways to make the on-trip experience on a cab better for its users. The company has said that it is working on features like ‘guessing the destination’ and ‘making the driver reach the user in the fastest manner possible’. While these have been areas where the taxi services appear to have been working on since a long time, we might also see newer features like ‘WiFi and entertainment’ on the go.
Uber, a San Francisco-based firm is present in more than 450 cities in over 70 countries, yet it is planning all the new features in India because, “cars run for long hours”, “safety is a key aspect”, and “people avoid maintenance on time”.