The ride-hailing segment is definitely something to watch out for as it disrupts and evolves. The taxi app Uber has been rated second for the most disruptive innovation company worldwide, overtaken only by SpaceX. The Uberization has significantly altered the taxi, logistics, healthcare, and other industries.
The last decade has witnessed a shift in the way people are moving around places. There is no doubt that with the rising population and the desire to travel conveniently, apps like Uber have a promising future. If you are wondering what it really takes to launch your online taxi-booking business then read on to know the technical features required.
How does Uber work?
While we do not intend to clone the app, it is wise that we understand the technical aspects of the application.
Uber launched its iOS app in 2010 and in the first six months, it reached 6,000 users. The Uber app is free to download with passengers and riders connecting 24/7. It is mostly a 5 step process that includes Request, Matching, Ride, Payment, and finally the Rating. Thus it first creates a trip request; this shows the rider the upfront price then the verification of the trip. A driver ready to take the trip accepts it. After reaching the destination the payment process is done automatically. Lastly, Uber requests a rating after each taxi ride as it is their core component of business logic. The app includes a base fare based on the location. It calculates ride fares by combining time and distance indicators. If the car is moving slowly i.e. < 11 mph (18km/h) the charge is based on time and if it goes swiftly then the charge is based on miles.
How to start building?
The development process of designing an Uber-like app starts with research. Make a list of all the features that you think are crucial to making your app successful. For an existing business consider your current operations, for a new business plan as per your vision. Always try to think of features that offer an enhanced experience as compared to existing services. You need to decide whether you will have a native or hybrid type of app and/or the platform it will be built on — iOS and Android. This will determine the course of your app development. This paves the road for technical specifications, architecture, and the tech stack which will be used for the app. Development can be tracked from scratch or using a ready-made solution. After the app is built the deployment is done to the live environments for functionality checks and performance testing on a range of devices.
Uber is effective due to its simple and straightforward process and experience. The taxi booking app is a play of two mobile apps — for rider and driver. There is also an admin panel to make sure everything runs smoothly. Let us look at some of the crucial and necessary features:
1. Geolocation and Routing
While very basic, Geolocation is the most indispensable characteristic of any taxi booking app. The whole process depends on how well it can identify the user’s exact location, this coupled with GPS, and complex data-sharing process that happens behind the scenes. The routes and direction in Android versions are powered by Google Maps whereas the iOS app versions are empowered by the CoreLocation framework.
Uber’s cashless payments have made this a standard in any type of taxi booking app. Uber uses a fare calculator which includes factors like base fare, type of vehicle, cost per mile, cost per minute, and safe rides fee. Whether it is an Android or iOS-based app, both offer multiple payment features like Paypal, numerous credit cards, scan cards by screen, and so on. It is essential to observe certain prerequisites and country policies for handling this data securely in order to proceed with payment integration.
3. Push Notification & Messaging
The communication within the app like requesting a ride, rating and reviewing, and keeping your customers informed with offers and discounts goes a long way. Twilio is a good provider for text messages in apps. In order to equip the app with push notifications on iOS, use Apple Push Notifications (APN) Service; and for Android apps, Firebase Cloud Messaging (FCM) should be used.
4. UI/UX design
This is one of the most significant aspects of app development. You will need an expert like an Android or iOS app developer to customize the apps adhering to the correct development norms.
Other standard features like Registration & Profile Management, Prior Scheduling or Ride, Fare Splitting, Cancellation of Ride without Penalties are also part of taxi-app development. Some features exclusive to the driver app are Driver Report, Driver Destinations, and Advanced Route Building.
Thus while giants like Uber and Lyft are placed as industry leaders there is still plenty of room for new players to innovate. If you have a unique value proposition and wish to probe this segment’s less explored areas then you can surely create a rewarding monetization strategy. The idea is to start with thorough research and ascertain product feasibility and response.