Booking an Uber is something that we have started to take for granted! It has become so common and synonymous with taxi booking that we can no longer say ‘Let’s call a taxi!’ but only ‘Let’s book an Uber.’ Uber has ushered in the on-demand era. This revolution has trickled down into every field possible, but cabs continue to reign supreme in the location-based on-demand realm.
Uber’s Tech Profile
Uber has marked its presence across 600 cities in over 70 countries. A central server is required, not only to maintain information about riders and drivers but also to facilitate interaction between them. The server also needs to do a lot of math in matching the user with a driver, calculating costs and ETA. To keep up the response-time, Uber maintains various servers spread across different geographies. These servers also serve as a back-up in case of unforeseen failures.
Uber’s backend is coded using technologies like Node.js, Python, Go, Redis, MySQL, and MongoDB. Let us look at the different processes of developing a taxi app, and the things that happen under the hood.
Opening the app
As soon as you open the app, permission is granted to use the phone’s GPS signals, and it determines the position of the car on the map. It also shows the cabs in the vicinity by using the GPS signals of the drivers.
Fixing the destination
Based on the choice of the range of service (UberX, Uber Prime, etc.), the distance, the traffic, and the demand, the price for the ride is shown. Complex math is involved in making the calculation. The surge pricing engine alone deserves a separate case study.
Booking the cab
Your booking request is ‘matched’ with the drivers nearby, who are free to take a ride. Based on the time of the day, the home-area of the driver also plays a role in determining your match. There are chances that your request is assigned to the driver who needs to travel to their home in that particular area or direction.
Boarding the cab
The driver commences the trip as soon as you board the cab. The GPS signals also assist in determining if the driver has been waiting for too long. If so, there is a waiting change that is added to your trip fee. At that point in time, the app uses the mapping APIs to determine the most optimal route for you to travel from your pickup area to your destination, based on various parameters like traffic, weather, and terrain.
Concluding the trip
Although the cost is pre-determined, there are chances that you might take a lot of stops or a lot of diversions. In such cases, an extra charge is applied accordingly. The combination of GPS and a time-calculator help in calculating the cost involved. The cost is bound to change if you take a diversion that leads the cab to an area with congested traffic.
Making a payment
On one side, there is the payment that you need to make. The payment can be affected using multiple options including but not limited to cash, credit cards, debit cards, eWallets, and even Uber’s native cash. Engines like Braintree are used to process payments. On the other side, there is a complex calculation that needs to determine how much goes to the driver and how much is taken as the commission.
Review and rating
What makes apps like Uber democratic is the rating system for both the drivers and the passengers. The rating system aggregates the star-rating, the plus points, and the pain points with every driver, making it one of the most reliable sources to determine a driver or a passenger’s behavior and quality of service.
The Technology That Goes In
There are different frameworks and APIs involved in creating a complete application.
- Google Maps – For showing the defined areas and surrounding areas.
- CoreLocation and Google Location Services API – To determine the exact position of the user by bringing in a combination of Google/Apple Maps and GPS.
- MapKit and Google Maps Directions API – For Route Configuration and Optimization.
- Braintree – For effecting online payments.
- Twilio – For sending SMS notifications.
- SendGrid – For sharing payment and trip details via email.
- Apple Push Notifications Service/Google Firebase Cloud Messaging – As the name implies, for sending push notifications.
As you can see, the app is a grand culmination of multiple factors. It is to be noted that none of the above tools/platforms talk about the calculation of fares – one of the most important aspects of the app.
Creating A Business out of an Uber Clone
Uber and other regional cab booking services have opened the floodgates of on-demand location-based transportation services as a promising and profitable business model. If you’d like to capitalize on this wave, and also swiftly hit the market, Uber clone apps are the way to go. With these customized clones of Uber, you can save a lot on the time and money that goes into developing the app from scratch.
Uber operates on a global scale, and it might not be practical to directly take on Uber. However, you can create a business that operates in your country or your city. For that level, you can use cloud service providers like Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google App Engine, or Parse. At a later stage, you can consider implementing advanced technologies.
In addition, you can also make your product better by providing additional features. Free rides as loyalty benefits, surge pricing, scheduling rides, insurance coverage, multi-language support, and gamification can give your app the competitive edge in the market that it takes to beat the competition.
A Case Study
There are different ways in which you can diversify Uber’s use. You can choose to confine your business to an area or a particular vertical. This is precisely what Gett did – they focused on corporate travel requirements.
Today, Gett provides on-demand transportation solutions for about 50% of the Fortune 500 companies across the globe. They have marked their presence in places that matter – the USA, the UK, Russia, and Israel.
Gett is considered a threat to Uber in Europe. The new cab service brings in a lot of benefits like choosing between fixed and meter fare, absence of surge pricing, and recruiting only licensed taxi drivers. These unique offerings have helped Gett carve a niche for itself and experience success.
We had discussed earlier that the best way to create a business-like Uber is to count on Uber clones. AppDupe specializes in providing customized clones of Uber so you can launch your MVP (or more than just your MVP) in a matter of days. Get in touch with our team to convert your business idea into an app… and a business!
Jennifer is a business advisor and strategist for Appdupe. She effectively helps new startups and tech companies to achieve their full potential with her unconventional marketing strategies. On a normal day you can find her on a public speaking on how startups can achieve success with a marketing plan.