Uber has considered at least two business models where it sells specific services to local governments, The Information reported Tuesday.
One idea was to sell access to the vast amount of ride data it has collected to government officials to help them make infrastructure improvements, the technology news website reported. Another proposal was to transport workers in underdeveloped neighborhoods, supplementing poor transit systems in exchange for government money, the report said.
Uber has since released a free tool for governments to view traffic data, The Information said. It comes as a rivalry with Google has grown deeper — Google's Waze has a similar free program called Connected Citizens, launched in late 2014.
That kind of data is in high demand. New York City has launched initiatives that track drivers entering and leaving the city, as it looks to beef up infrastructure and surveillance.
The two business models show how crucial data is to the ride-hailing start-up's huge valuation, estimated to be $68 billion by CB Insights. Data is also a key input for self-driving cars, a technology that Uber CEO Travis Kalanick said is crucial for the company's long-term survival.
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