uber piloting, uber eats
ETtech

Illustration: Rahul Awasthi

Ride-hailing firm Uber is piloting in-car tablets to show advertisements and value-added services to riders in Delhi and Mumbai as part of a global rollout.
These tablets will be fixed behind the front seat facing the rider and is a way of monetising and creating additional revenue streams by showing ads to users.
“A lot of critical engineering work for this pilot is being done by the Indian engineering team and it is a global product,” said a source aware of the matter, adding that the tablets will first be installed in cabs in the United States before being brought into markets like India.
The company can show third-party ads and also cross-sell other services like Uber Eats.
“You can sell food coupons for the airport food court if you are on the way to the airport,” said the source.
An Uber spokesperson confirmed the development but did not share further details as the project is at an early stage. Competitor Lyft said in August that it would set up a media division to monetise users through in-car ads.
Tech companies across sectors are increasingly focussing on advertisement revenues to improve unit economics. Ecommerce behemoth Amazon, for example, generated more than $30 billion in 2021 from ads alone.
The Uber pilot comes after its increased focus to tap into India’s engineering talent for global needs amid reports about a potential sale or merger with Indian rival Ola.
Both the companies have previously denied these reports.
Andrew Macdonald, head of global mobility, told ET on September 21 that Uber was debuting and testing a lot of innovations in the country. It already has around 2,000 employees in India and plans to add 500 more.
Uber had also spoken about monetising users through in-car ads at the Investor Day in February. It has hired former Amazon executive Mark Grether to lead the company’s $1 billion advertising efforts.
Grether told investors that the company sees three avenues to place ads – in-app, in-car, and outside the car – on the roof.
Installing the tablet also encourages more stickiness among drivers to use Uber’s app, rather than switch between rival apps, as some of the proceeds from the ad revenue can be passed on to the driver, a source said.
“Uber needs to get the product out fast because it is like a race with Lyft on who can fit the tabs first in the car. If Lyft fixes a tab first it will be complicated for Uber to ask the driver to install Uber’s tab,” said the source quoted earlier in the story.
Challenges
This is not the first time that ride-hailing companies have tried to fix tabs in cars.
Rival Ola also had a service called Ola Play, which had music and other value-added services. Ola Play cabs were listed separately on the Ola app and had a higher fare.
It is no longer displayed on the app and sources said Ola Play had been shut down.
Ola declined to comment on ET’s queries.
South-East Asia’s Grab also installed tablets inside cars in 2018.
A source aware of Ola’s Play’s working said that attaching a tab to the cab was Ola’s way to lure premium customers who at the time were moving towards Uber.
Drivers were also keen on having these tabs installed as it attracted higher fares, and hence for Ola, a higher commission, which they charged as a percentage of total fares.
The source added that the project was initially promising, and even gave founder Bhavish Aggarwal the confidence to focus more on hardware projects like electric vehicles.
The company soon started facing multiple challenges in India. The advertisement model was difficult as the cost-per-click and cost-per-view remain low in India.
“Maintaining the hardware also became difficult as the wear and tear due to India’s bumpy roads took a toll,” said the source quoted above. “Getting the military-grade hardware made it too expensive for the driver and the company to purchase.”
Meanwhile, Uber in India has been increasingly focussing on going deeper into low-ticket size products. It said that the three-wheeler and bike categories are driving growth in the Indian market. It has also started piloting public bus services in Gurugram and Bengaluru and is bullish on the category.

TECH NEWS RELATED

Turning the polymerization process on and off using a switchable template

Credit: Bas van Ravensteijn Regulating the polymerization process is of great interest for both industrial and medical applications. In an article published in Angewandte Chemie, TU/e researchers show they not only can control the process and are able to switch it on and off, but they can also control ...

View more: Turning the polymerization process on and off using a switchable template

A turning point in lithium-sulfur battery field technology

Credit: DGIST (Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology) Professor Jong-Sung Yu’s research group in the Department of Energy Science and Engineering at DGIST developed a technology for a porous silica interlayer by loading sulfur, an active material, in silica. This new approach is expected to be pivotal to ...

View more: A turning point in lithium-sulfur battery field technology

The relationship between geothermal energy and lithium

Lithium Story Map. Credit: National Renewable Energy Laboratory As product managers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Nicholas Gilroy and Haiku Sky help turn complex information into a compelling journey on the web. Their work allows users to interact with data and even download information as the story ...

View more: The relationship between geothermal energy and lithium

Two rare super-Mercuries discovered in the same star system

Radius versus mass plot, with HD 23472 exoplanets (black dots) compared with other known exoplanets. Earth (blue star) and Venus (Yellow star) are shown for comparison. Dashed lines represent mass-radius models for different planetary compositions. The grey area below shows the maximum collision stripping of the mantle region. Credit: ...

View more: Two rare super-Mercuries discovered in the same star system

Color composition preferences in art paintings are determined by color statistics

Relationship between the degree of preference for painting color compositions and color statistics. Credit: Toyohashi University of Technology A research team led by Professor Shigeki Nakauchi of Toyohashi University of Technology conducted an experimental study of the color composition preferences of 31,353 participants, for a total of 1,200 paintings ...

View more: Color composition preferences in art paintings are determined by color statistics

New strategy to precisely target subtypes of key protein

X-ray co-crystal structure of B52 compound (cyan) binding and inhibiting Cyclophilin D protein. Credit: Aziz Rangwala Cyclosporine is one of the most common and effective immunosuppressant drugs used to treat chronic diseases like arthritis and psoriasis, but it comes with a risk of serious side effects. Scientists think that ...

View more: New strategy to precisely target subtypes of key protein

Pass-the-Hash Attacks and How to Prevent them in Windows Domains

In the movies, hackers typically enter a few keystrokes and gain access to entire networks in a matter of seconds. In the real world however, attackers often start out with nothing more than a low-level user account and then work to gain additional privileges that will allow them to ...

View more: Pass-the-Hash Attacks and How to Prevent them in Windows Domains

Probiotic combination drastically improves oyster larvae survival

Credit: Oregon State University Oyster larvae survival rates were significantly boosted by treating them with specific combinations of probiotics, Oregon State University researchers found in a recent study published in Aquaculture. With only a one-time application, the probiotics also boosted larval growth, metamorphosis and settlement, meaning that in addition ...

View more: Probiotic combination drastically improves oyster larvae survival

E-commerce firms sell goods worth Rs 24,500 crore in first four days of festive season sales: report

Evidence of the use of baby carriers 10,000 years ago

Women still less likely to be hired, promoted, mentored or even have their research cited

Bio-inspired localization system slashes power consumption

Chinese astronomers discover more than 1,600 new star clusters

Symbiotic fungi suggest biocontrol implications for pest beetles

Arctic lakes act as 'reactors' or 'chimneys' for carbon dioxide

AMD Ryzen 9 7950X CPU: Powerful, Gets a Bit Toasty

China’s central bank declares victory in cryptocurrency crackdown ahead of the Communist Party’s national congress

New Ransomware-Enhancing Method Tested by Hackers; Technique Could Make Data Irretrievable

Scientists Designed a Nanozyme that Mimics Antioxidant Properties that Protects the Bones from Radiation

Scientists Employ Machine Learning Techniques to Estimate the Extinction Risk of Thousands of Palm Species

OTHER TECH NEWS

Top Car News Car News