Wipro, Cognizant and Accenture have entered the fray to bag a business process outsourcing contract from ride-hailing app Uber to improve its mapping and thereby the experience for its customers and drivers.Uber has floated a request for proposal (RFP) for the Uber Map Improvement Group. The attempt is to enhance its mapping assets, including to ensure faster pick-up times. Uber is learnt to have told IT/BPO service providers that it would launch map improvement at scale beginning March and is looking to onboard 500 to 1,000 operators, running in two shifts, by the end of 2016 or early 2017, said sources familiar with the development. These sources said the multi-year BPO contract is expected to be around $50 million (Rs 350 crore).An email sent to Uber did not elicit a response. Wipro said it does not comment on ongoing business pursuits while a Cognizant spokesperson said it doesn’t comment on speculation in the marketplace. It’s not clear what precisely the new set of employees will do. Uber has been using Google Street View-like cars to take images of roads to more precisely determine driving routes and expected time of arrival. It is possible that the new employees will use this information, as also others that they come across on a daily basis, to improve the information flow to cab users and drivers.Uber has previously committed $50 million, over the next five years, to its Hyderabad office, where it will not only have a tech centre of excellence, but also put in place a mapping team focused on improving the underlying map technology and image processing.
Uber spending $1 billion a year to compete with Chinese rivals The mapping team will work closely with a similar team in the US. It would also work closely with BPO companies to ensure service-level agreements are met.The Travis Kalanick-founded company, valued at $62 billion, is betting big on India. It is also setting up its first engineering centre in India in Bengaluru to customize solutions for the local market. Uber India’s product team will be the latest addition to its existing engineering outposts in San Francisco, Amsterdam, Sofia in Bulgaria, Aarhus in Denmark and Vilnius in Lithuania.