Uber – Changing The Way We Looked At And Booked Cabs
There was a time when we’d put our hands up to book a cab. Today, we put our heads down to do the same! In the words of Neil Armstrong, the change might be ‘one small step for man, but a giant leap for mankind.’ This change had not only transformed the way in which we booked cabs, but has brought in the ‘location-based on-demand’ revolution.
With apps like Uber, users could now book cabs from anywhere, to anywhere. The GPS/mapping/navigation ensures that the driver could reach the user. For the drivers, it gave a huge fillip in terms of earning. They could now be notified if a passenger was in need of a cab, and they could earn by giving their service to a user who wanted it.
A Bit About Uber… In Numbers
What started in San Francisco in 2009, has now spread to over 63 countries and 785 metro cities. There are 75 million passengers and 3 million drivers – or as Uber calls them, driver – partners – globally. The company stands at a staggering value of $78 billion in valuation. Uber holds a coveted investment-profile and is funded by big names like SoftBank, Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia and even Google!
The Way In Which Uber (& Other Taxi-Booking Apps) Work… & The Tech-Profile of Uber
On the surface, it seems simple, right? Take out your mobile, open the app, select the cab, choose the destination, enjoy the ride and pay! However, like a duck’s feet, there is a lot that goes under the hood in making the entire process seem simple! In fact, complex technicalities have gone into developing the app which makes the process very simple.
Creating A Profile
As soon as the users downloads the app, they can create a profile using their email address or phone number or their credentials on Google or Facebook. When they create a profile, the back-end dedicates some space to the user-data including their name, contact information, their destinations and pick-up points, their payment methods, and even the history of the trips taken and the ratings they’ve received. All this data is stored in databases like MySQL and MongoDB.
Booking A Cab
A user chooses the type of car they want (in the context of Uber, Uber Go, Uber Prime, and the likes). The app shows the cars that are available in the vicinity. In addition, using the mapping/navigation/traffic data, it also shows the estimated time taken for arrival. The app also displays the estimated cost of the trip and multiplies the charge by a factor based on aspects like traffic and demand. This, as we all know, is dubiously named ‘surge pricing.’ Based on these bits of information, the user can choose to book a cab. The dispatch system is built on Node.js and Redis. The CoreLocation framework for iOS and the Google Location API for Android takes care to pinpoint the location of the user.
Assigning A Cab
Based on the user’s choice, the app matches the location of the user with the location of the driver, and also takes into consideration, the type of car they wanted. The matching is done by using a complex algorithm that factors in the driver-ratings, the time of booking, and the driver’s home. It is only upon the entire process getting completed, you get that delightful message ‘Your cab has been booked’! The business logic lives on APIs built on Python.
That little message ‘your cab has been booked’ renders a great feel to the customers. The customers need to be updated about every progress in the trip/booking. The push notifications are effected by Apple’s Push Notifications Service for iOS and Google’s Cloud Messaging for Android. The SMS updates are affected by Twilio.
The driver needs to not only know the location of the user, but also needs guidance to navigate to that point. The navigation assistance is provided right within the app, taking into consideration factors like traffic and road-usability. Uber uses the iOS Mapkit and the Google Maps Android API for navigation assistance. This navigation greatly helps drivers in easily reaching the user’s location. It cannot be denied that the ‘on-demand’ fad caught on, only because of the availability of the geo-location and the navigation-options.
Another factor that made apps like Uber a success is the versatility and flexibility it provides in terms of payment options. You can pay by using cash, cards, net-banking, UPI and e-wallets. Paying for the trip in cash still remains an option in cash-centric economies like India. However, when it comes to using digital payment methods, Uber uses the services of Braintree. In addition, Uber also uses PayPal’s card.io to scan the credit card, although this service is restricted to iOS right now.
The rating system keeps up the democratic dimension of Uber. The passengers can rate the drivers and the drivers can rate the passengers as well. This helps the company maintain high standards of service. Top-rated drivers are rewarded with better rides, helping them in netting better revenues! The rating and review system goes back to the database, and when a new booking starts, even the rating of the last trip is taken into consideration!
The Different App For Different People
There are three stakeholders when it comes to the functioning of taxi-booking apps like Uber . The passenger, the driver and the administrator. Each entity has a dedicated app that makes it easy for them to do what they need to do!
The Driver App
The driver app enables the driver to get their rides. The driver is given the right to accept or reject a ride. Also, they can avail the option of getting a home-bound booking during the day’s closure. The driver should also be able to quickly encash their digital payments. As mentioned earlier, the driver should have the facility to rate passengers based on their behavior.
The Passenger App
The primary aim of a passenger is nothing more than getting a cost-effective and comfortable ride when they want. The passenger should have the flexibility to choose a ride of their choice. They should also be provided with versatile payment methods. They should be given the option to rate the drivers. In addition, added features of security like a panic button, would help strengthen the trust that users have on the app.
The Admin App
The administrator functions as the overseeing authority of the app and all its activities. They should be able to view vital stats on a dedicated dashboard. They should also be able to see the total earnings, the current charges and a whole lot of information. In the best interest of the app, they should also have the power to disable users and drivers based on their behavior and star-ratings.
Clones – An Efficient & Effective Alternative
It can be understood that a simple download from the app stores is nothing less than a technological marvel. It might take a lot of time to build an app like Uber from scratch. However, it doesn’t make any sense to reinvent the wheel, right?
You can always avail the Uber clones that are available in the market. These white-label clones of Uber save you a lot of time, effort and money. Any business person would understand that time is of crucial importance when it comes to the taxi-app business. Uber clones help you build the app in the shortest possible time, helping you maximize profits. After all, a user doesn’t care about how the app was built as long as they get a comfortable ride!
It is quite evident that uber clones, is the way forward to quickly create a cab-booking business. However, you should exercise care in choosing the company that creates your taxi-booking app out of the Uber clone.
Choosing trusted companies with a good history and all-round excellence – in business-intelligence, development, and design – would ensure that your app is market-ready!