Uber, but for X

A couple of days ago, I attended a #devden talk at Atlassian featuring Chris Chambers, head of Engineering at Uber. He walked us through many of the challenges that Uber faced in its early days and the subsequent improvements they’ve made to their stack and UI.

While most people tweeted about the Google + Uber partnership as the beginnings of a fleet of self-driving cars, Chris focused more on the maps and infrastructure aspect of the business. The ETA’s calculated by Uber’s platform were more precise than those calculated by Google Maps. In fact, Uber’s back-end totally blew me away. It was incredibly interesting how they were trying to forecast demand, in real-time, as well as supply matching & positioning.

I couldn’t help but think how this commercial technology can also serve the public / non-profit sectors. People often complain about policy / ambulance / fire dept. response times – imagine if Uber can help reduce that by better positioning patrol cars. Maybe even effectively reduce crimes and accidents by having patrol cars positioned pre-emptively. Effectively dispatching help would also be crucial during states of emergency, such as national disasters.

How do you see Uber’s technology deployed in other areas?

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