The maker of crowdsourced sat-nav app Waze believes that it can become a market leader through a series of deals with car manufacturers.
The Google-owned app uses real-time data gathered from users to help refine traffic routes and currently has 100 million monthly users, including 2.1 million in the UK. The app initially only worked on phones, but has been available to use on car infotainment systems through Android Auto, and shortly will be via Apple CarPlay. Making it more easily accessible through infotainment systems, especially in countries where smartphone use while driving is banned, could be key to growth.
Waze will also be featured directly on Ford’s Sync 3 in-car infotainment system, and the app’s makers are currently negotiating deals with other car makers. Waze believes such deals can help it reach one billion global users.
“We want to partner with everyone and anyone,” said UK country manager Finlay Clark. “Consumers will choose what sat-nav they want and we want to be an option. We are talking to all OEMs about how Waze can work on whatever system they are using.”
The key difference between Waze and other app or in-car navigation systems is how it mixes crowd-sourced GPS data with machine learning. The app gathers anonymised real-time data that it uses to build maps and then calculate traffic flows. Users are also able to report delays and hold-ups. In some countries, it also displays crowd-sourced fuel prices.
Then global editors – Waze says there are about 500,000 of them – feed information on traffic delays into the system to help generate data its makers believe is more accurate than other navigation apps’. Some editors spend up to five hours a day editing traffic delays in Waze, and a hierarchy of senior editors are in place to ensure updates are accurate.