No matter what the ride share service, we’ve all been there: waiting for a driver after we requested our ride. So, what exactly happens in those few seconds between ordering a vehicle from a ride-hailing app and when your driver is confirmed?
In that split second it takes for the confirmation to pop up on your screen, companies like Grab and Easy Taxi are using some pretty powerful location tools from HERE to make your wait time as short as possible, accurately estimate your driver’s arrival time and make your overall ride a lot smoother.
A whole host of complex calculations need to take place to figure out precisely where you are and to work out which driver is in the best position to pick you up.
First, the mobile app needs to figure out your exact location. Seems simple enough given that we all have GPS on our smartphones, right?
But let’s say you are ordering the taxi or private car from your office, which is located in an inner courtyard. Your GPS position shows that you are located somewhere that the car can’t drive directly to.
This means the HERE system needs to quickly work out which street is actually closest to the building. Is it the street at the courtyard’s south or north facing entrance? HERE has precise maps with just this level of building entrance detail to make calculating where to pick you up simple.
Now that you are properly located, a driver will be dispatched and you’ll get an estimated arrival time. Many times, the driver that’s best able to pick you up, i.e. the one that makes your wait the lowest, may not simply be the car that’s closest to you. What about things like traffic jams, the direction the available cars are currently heading or other stops that need to be made on the way to you?
While it all takes a matter of milliseconds, this is where the combination of intelligent routing and traffic from HERE come in to do some pretty heavy lifting.
Using isoline routing, the ride-hailing app can figure out the total drive area which can be reached by cars within a defined drive-time or drive-distance. This makes sure that the app only notifies the drivers that are truly closest to you that there is a pickup available. The first driver to accept the pickup takes it and you get notified that a car is on the way.
A real-world example of this technology in action is how Grab, the leading ride-hailing platform in Southeast Asia, calculates the best ETA and dispatches the quickest vehicle to a customer. This applies whether customers choose to book a GrabTaxi (taxis), GrabCar (private cars) or GrabBike (motorcycle taxis). Using the location services and real-time traffic from HERE, not only the shortest distance to the passenger is considered, but also the shortest drive time within current traffic conditions. This has helped dramatically reduce customer wait times in 28 cities across six countries in Southeast Asia, including Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.
Another way to determine which vehicle is in the best position to pick up a passenger is by using matrix routing. This lets the app calculate the drive time and drive distances for multiple requests at the same time or for routes with multiple pick-up and drop-off points.
In either routing scenario, real time traffic helps calculate an even more precise ETA given current traffic conditions. It also helps identify any drivers that are outside a set drive-time window based on traffic jams or delays and eliminate them from the pool of available drivers. Even if one car is further away, it may get the job because it has a shorter total drive time than a car that would get stuck in traffic on the way to you.
So, whether you’re grabbing a ride in Singapore or Rio, among numerous other cities, chances are your wait time is less and your overall journey is a lot easier thanks to HERE.
Are you a ride-sharing startup or an established taxi service looking to build the best e-hailing service? HERE has a complete set of location products and services to make the entire experience, from booking to dispatch to driver guidance, run efficiently. To learn more, click here.