Google acquires mapping analytics firm Urban Engines

Google has acquired Urban Engines, a mapping analytics and visualisation start-up. The move will help Google Maps team “better understand how the world moves.”

ue

Urban Engines was started by Shiva Shivakumar, Balaji Prabhakar, Deepak Merugu and Giao Nguyen in 2014 with an aim to improve urban mobility by “using information from the billions of trips that people and vehicles make each day.”

“With the rapid growth in sensors (GPS, beacons, etc.) on smartphones and cars and transit, we are now truly in the age of Internet of Moving Things,The potential to improve the lives of millions of commuters, by learning from commuting behavior patterns, reshaping congestion and creating new consumer services in each minute-mile is incredible.”

the company said in its blog post.

Jen Fitzpatrick, who leads the Google Maps team, told Business Insider that they’re trying to build “the richest, deepest, most detailed understanding of the real world that’s ever existed”. That includes incorporating the sort of rich traffic data that Urban Engines collects and analyzes. The company said it has customers across the Americas, Asia, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.

The start-up company has a connection with Google. Co-founders Shiva Shivakumar and Giao Nguyen worked with Google in the past. Shivakumar was with the search giant for almost a decade and Nguyen was a principal engineer of the company. The acquisition is like rejoining the company for them.

In 2014, Urban Engines raised an undisclosed amount of funding from notable investors, including Andreessen Horowitz; SV Angel; GV; Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt; and Ram Shriram, Google’s first investor.

Urban Engine has so far worked for customers in the Americas, Asia, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, including partnering with mayoral offices and ministries within “smart cities” to better understand the mobility of their constituents to better plan improvements.