Uber Signs a Mapping Deal With TomTom

Caption:WASHINGTON, DC - APR 4: UberX driver, Michael Belet, checks the Uber customer app to see where other Uber drivers are working so he can determine where the best place for him to get fares might be, April 7, 2014, in Washington, DC. Thousands of local car owners have signed up in recent months to drive with one of the 'ride-share' operators that use smartphone apps to link people needing rides with car owners willing to give them, for a price. (Photo by Evelyn Hockstein/For The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Photograph by Evelyn Hockstein — The Washington Post via Getty Images

Ride-hailing company Uber has struck a deal with mapping technology company TomTom, the two companies said on Thursday.

TomTom, a Dutch company best known for its mapping and navigation products, “has signed a global, multi-year agreement to provide maps and traffic data for the Uber driver app,” according to the companies’ statement. TomTom’s technology will help provide more accurate arrival time estimates and routes, and will be implemented in more than 300 cities around the world, presumably in all, or almost all, of Uber’s markets.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

While accurate arrival estimates are greatly appreciated by passengers as they await to be picked up by a driver, bolstering its routing abilities might be even more important for Uber. The company, along with its rivals, offers a carpooling service in some cities, which hinges on efficiently matching passengers based on their origin and destination without creating inconvenient detours. The company also hopes eventually that drivers will be able to pick up and drop off a stream of carpooling passengers instead of only one pair per ride, which will require even more robust mapping and routing capabilities.

Earlier this year, Uber took part in the bidding war for Nokia’s mapping business, HERE, reportedly offering $3 billion for it. The company ultimately lost out to an alliance of German automakers, but it did acquire some mapping-related assets and employees from Microsoft (MSFT) around the same time.

TomTom has been working with Apple (AAPL) on its in-house mapping app since 2012 when Apple ditched Google Maps as the default mapping app on its mobile devices.

We’ve reached out to the companies for more information.

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