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Monday, September 08, 2014

Uber GPS issues

The main problems with Uber in-app navigation feature: 
  • U-turn required to re-route directions in courts, on street away from pick-up address and at dead-end streets. 
  • No way to check route details.
  • No ETA to inform clients who request time.
  • One-route option
  • No way to set toll bridge, toll roads and freeway restrictions. 
  • No real-time re-routing technology when there is excessive traffic. 
  • Lacks technology to inform driver of the right turn to make at certain times such as left turn only between 7am-7pm.

Back in May, Uber updated their ride app with an in-app navigation option. This is the best update Uber has ever made because now drivers no longer have to delay pick-up times to input addresses. Most importantly, this in-app GPS feature may improve safety standards. What are the drawbacks with this GPS option?

As you probably know, this in-app navigation is one-dimensional. Instead of re-routing a new pick-up address, this in-app GPS will keep informing the driver to make a U-turn. If this driver really wants the directions right way, they will make this U-Turn. Eventually, the in-app navigation will calculate its own route and the U-Turn request will stop.

This GPS feature only gives one route rather than multiple directions. It will re-route in motion, but these directions are not as efficient when compared alongside Google Maps. If both GPS maps are running at the same time, the two apps will give two different routes. Google Maps informs their user of faster streets, as taking one road or street as opposed to another will be faster and/or slower. For example, traveling down a particular street will be 3 minutes slower than another road.

Why is it important to have multiple routes? Some clients prefer to take the freeways, whereas others reject any freeway routes. In the Google app, a user can avoid toll bridges, toll roads, and freeways. Uber's in-app navigation feature is best used to reach pick-up addresses. Drivers still prefer to use a secondary GPS device and/or app to navigate trips.

Another problem with this in-app GPS is that drivers can't inform clients how long it will take to reach them. Clients call drivers to request the ETA. This in-app navigation doesn't specify the time and distance. Nevertheless, drivers can opt out of directions to check the pick-up address, and the hit "navigate" to reactivate the GPS feature again. The Uber app will inform drivers of the time to reach client, but this only occurs when a ride request arrives. There is no option to check the route beyond the interface. With Google Maps, a user can check the exact route by a click of a virtual button.

With all the drawbacks of this in-app navigation feature, this May update is extremely valuable to drivers in real-time. A split-second can make the difference between a quicker route and a longer pick-up time. Therefore, clients will cancel a driver who could have taken one freeway but re-routed to another. Pick-up times change according to the time and distance. It is crucial that pick-up directions arrive fast so drivers can make quick decisions. 

Based on driver feedback, this in-app navigation feature is by far the best update. It solves pick-up time delays and may likely improve safety. Typically, drivers must pull to the side of a street and/or road to input an address into their GPS device. We caution drivers to use a secondary GPS device in case the Uber app is experiencing technical issues. If drivers depend entirely on this in-app GPS to navigate to destinations, an unexpected technical glitch may cause trip issues. 

However, drivers can trust the Uber app to follow inputted destinations. They can also input this address into a secondary GPS device to have a back-up plan for app issues. 

SideCar has used this pick-up and destination address technology to guide drivers. Basically, SideCar drivers never have to request an address from their passengers. They can't confirm this address to be sure, but the destination is already stored in the system and communicates the directions to Waze, Apple and/or Google Maps. Drivers can choose the GPS maps they prefer. SideCar recommends their drivers to use Waze; however, this GPS app restricts the driver from using it in motion. 

Overall, Uber in-app navigation is helpful to drivers. This update has probably reduced cancellations. Before this update, address inputs and freeway splits increased pick-up times. Clients canceled these trips based on the inaccuracy of the pick-up times. It is important to press "Arrived" right away. Otherwise, the app is telling the client the driver is 2 minutes away instead of waiting at the location. 

Happy Ubering!