Uber Technologies ,without doubt, has positively disrupted the world of transportation with it’s revolutionary use of data and technology. To shed more light on this, our guest blogger JBandtheRoad will be discussing the strides that the rideshare giant has made in the sharing economy.
Present in 670 cities across 83 countries, Uber was estimated to be worth $70 billion in 2017. The numbers are impressive, considering that the company first began operations in 2010. This means that in the past 7 years, Uber has expanded its service line to include the likes of UberX, UberPool, and the more recent; UberEats. These days, the company is working on self-driving cars for deployment in the near future.
A pioneer in the shared economy, Uber truly disrupted the transportation industry with its promise of convenience. However, underneath its easy-to-use surface is a web of valuable data. It’s often been said that data is the new oil of the 21st century. What truly set Uber apart is how it chose to use that data, particularly when it comes to GPS and Customer Feedback.
Uber and the power of data
The company’s first deck, which CEO and co-founder Garrett Camp shared online, reveals that the launching of the ride-sharing and -hailing service coincided with the emergence of GPS technology embedded into smartphones. This makes it possible for riders to specify pick-up and drop-off points; allows the app to find the nearest available drivers; and then for the drivers themselves to navigate from point A to B. A huge benefit of the integration of this technology is that it addressed the widespread concerns over traditional modes of point-to-point transport by: cutting response times, guaranteeing pick-up, and slashing costs.
On the other hand, the addition of a customer feedback option, which allows drivers and riders to rate each other right after a trip, opened up a whole new era in what has been dubbed as a “feedback culture”. Not only does the feedback loop allow the company to quickly spot and deal with problem drivers, it also protects drivers from potentially abusive or aggressive customers. In particular, this places a valuable incentive for drivers to deliver a pleasant, safe, clean, and prompt service to their passengers. Behavioral scientist Peter Kriss explains that the element of customer feedback elevates user experience. Thus leveraging on satisfied customers who in turn become their own word-of-mouth marketing machine.
Data, Technology and Regulations
Needless to say, the effectiveness of those two technologies have not gone unnoticed, particularly among regulatory bodies seeking to create safer and more reliable commercial vehicle systems. More innovations are hitting the road to help carriers monitor driver behavior and improve road safety for all.
For instance, black boxes are well known for their role in tracking and storing data in airplane operations for the purposes of safety and security. In 2008, they began to be used by taxi drivers in South Korea, as mandated by local governments. In the years since the implementation, the country saw a decrease in taxi-related traffic accidents by 17.7%, with death and injury tolls falling by 18.9% and 19.1%, respectively.
A similar measure was signed into law in the United States last 2012, this time to monitor the country’s vital and enormous trucking industry. Called Electronic On Board Recorders (EOBRs), these black boxes are designed to track data on everything from GPS coordinates and average speed to cruise control and seatbelt use. The devices also allow for recreation of a vehicle’s path and driver behavior before, during, and after accidents.
More recently, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration took a step further in trying to address driver exhaustion among commercial fleets. To do so, it mandated that all carriers replace paper logs that record driver hours with Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs), which must fit into vehicles through an app, by the end of 2017. Fleetmatics explains that the ELD aims to reduce human error caused by accidental or deliberate over-driving, as is the case when drivers exceed their daily maximum Hours of Service (HoS). The ELD then makes the information on the vehicles’ journeys and drivers’ HoS available to drivers, fleet operators, and roadside inspectors.
Currently, vehicles registered with Uber follow more or less the same regulations respective to the country of operation.
A lot has changed in the past seven years since Uber began its services. In that short span of time, the company has managed to use data in novel and unprecedented ways, which also promoted convenience, quality service, and road safety. It won’t be surprising to see even more innovations in the world of transportation over the next few years.
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