Uber taps former Google Maps boss to lead advanced research unit image

San Francisco-based Uber Technologies has enlisted the help of the former Google Maps chief, with the mobile-car hailing startup expands its research and development efforts, seeking to deploy its own technology when it comes to maps, navigation and transport.

Uber’s Advanced Technologies Center will be headed by Brian McClendon, reporting to Jeff Holden, Uber’s chief product officer as Uber and Google are shaping up from partners into bitter rivals as the latter wants to establish its own car-sharing and ride-hailing technology to secure a piece of the developing industry. In reverse, Uber might want to tap the upcoming sector of autonomous cars, where the Internet search giant has already invested much research and development. Back in February, Uber decided to partner with Carnegie Mellon University to spearhead efforts on transportation and mapping technologies, leading to the creation of the company’s Advanced Technologies Center in Pittsburgh. “We’re thrilled that Brian is joining the Uber team,” commented Holden. “He led the development of Google Earth and Google Maps, truly world-class products, from the early days.”

Uber has also reportedly teamed up with China’s Baidu Technologies Inc. and hedge fund Apax Partners to deliver a bid for Nokia’s own mapping business services, according to sources that have knowledge of the strategy. The multiround biding could deliver a winner for the HERE division that could gain an advantage over its competitors, as the unit powers numerous navigation systems employed by in-dash infotainment solutions.

Via Bloomberg