By Matthew Egan, OmniChannel Media
Reuters is reporting that mapping company Waze, a fully-owned subsidiary of Google, is launching a carpooling pilot program that will see commuters in Israel pay drivers a small fee to ride with them to and from work.
The service will be available via an app called RideWith and will look to integrate Waze’s navigation system to connect the drivers with potential passengers based on their route to work.
‘We’re conducting a small, private beta test in the greater Tel Aviv area for a carpool concept, but we have nothing further to announce at this time,’ Waze told Reuters.
Google purchased the Tel-Aviv based Waze for US$2 billion two years ago. Waze markets itself on contributing to the ‘common good’ on the road. It does this through using its mapping system to create local driving communities that connect with one another to share real-time driving information.
Waze says that the service will be limited, with drivers only able to pick up passengers twice a day. Unlike other ride-sharing services, drivers will not be able to generate a wage through the service, thus limited some of the potential legal issues associated with the new technology.
The release will look to both promote a new style of ride-sharing, as well as showcase the power of the Waze platform to users who might not have already engaged with the service. As a company, the recent evolution feeds into the idea of making better roads through decreasing digestion.
A shareholder in Uber, it has been reported that Google has had an interest in the ride-sharing industry for some time. Some industry analysts have pointed to the integration of Google’s driverless car project with a ride-sharing service as being their most obvious entry point.
What is known is that taking advantage of the ‘sharing economy’ looks to be a critical tool for industry disruption for some time. As industries start to understand how they can take advantage of unused assets in more efficient ways, a new wave of ideas like Waze will continue to be rolled out by the world’s most innovative companies. OCM.
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