uber piloting: Uber pilots tablet in car in Delhi and Mumbai to run ads

The driving company Uber is experimenting with car tablets to show advertisements and value-added services to motorcyclists in Delhi and Mumbai as part of a global launch.

These tablets will be fixed behind the front seat facing the driver and is a way to monetize and create additional revenue streams by showing ads to users.

“A lot of critical engineering work for this driver has been done by the Indian engineering team and it is a global product,” a source aware of the matter said, adding that the tablets will be installed in taxis in the United States before being introduced in markets such as India.

The company can show third-party ads and also cross-sell other services such as Uber Eats.

“You can sell food stamps for the airport food court if you are going to the airport,” the source said.

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 monetize users via in-car ads.

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Tech companies across all industries are increasingly focusing on advertising revenue to improve the unit economy. Ecommerce giant Amazon, for example, generated over $ 30 billion in 2021 from advertising alone.

The Uber driver comes after his increased focus on tapping into Indian engineering talent for global needs amid reports on a potential sale or merger with Indian rival Ola.

Both companies have previously denied these reports.

Andrew Macdonald, head of global mobility, told ET on Sept. 21 that Uber was debuting and testing many innovations in the country. It already has around 2,000 employees in India and plans to add another 500.

Uber also talked about monetizing users via in-car ads on Investor Day in February. He hired former Amazon executive Mark Grether to lead the $ 1 billion company’s advertising efforts.

Grether told investors that the company sees three avenues to place ads – in-app, in-car and out-of-car – on the roof.

Installing the tablet also encourages clingier drivers to use Uber’s app, rather than switching between a rival app, as some of the ad revenue may be passed on to the driver, a source said.

“Uber needs to get the product out fast because it’s like a race with Lyft as to who can fit the cards in the car first. If Lyft fixes a card first, it will be tricky for Uber to ask the driver to install the Uber card, ”the source quoted earlier in the story said.


This isn’t the first time transportation companies have tried to fix cards in cars.

Rival Ola also had a service called Ola Play, which had music and other value-added services. Ola Play taxis were listed separately on the Ola app and had a higher fare.

It no longer appears on the app and the sources claimed that Ola Play had been closed.

Ola declined to comment on ET’s questions.

Southeast Asian Grab also installed tablets inside cars in 2018.

A source familiar with Ola’s Play’s work said that sticking a tab on the cab was Ola’s way of attracting premium customers who were heading to Uber at the time.

Drivers were also thrilled to have these cards installed as they attracted higher rates, and therefore for Ola, a higher commission, which they charged as a percentage of the total rates.

The source added that the project was initially promising and even gave founder Bhavish Aggarwal the confidence to focus more on hardware projects such as electric vehicles.

The company soon began to face multiple challenges in India. The advertising model has been challenging as the cost per click and cost per view remain low in India.

“Hardware maintenance has also become difficult as wear and tear from India’s bumpy roads took a toll,” said the aforementioned source. “Getting the military-grade hardware made it too expensive for the driver and the company to purchase.”

Meanwhile, Uber in India has increasingly focused on deepening small-size products. He said the three-wheeler and bicycle 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.

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