Researchers Alex Rosenblatt and Luke Stark have spent the last six months investigating how Uber drivers interact with the app. One of their revelations is that the cars that are shown on the app when it's opened by a passenger have little relation to the reality of where drivers actually are.

"I know this seems a misleading": the cars that pop up when you open Uber aren't really there. Image 1.

A passenger asked an Uber Help staff member for an explanation of this phenomenon, and their response was illuminating. 

The app is simply showing there are partners on the road at the time. This is not a representation of the exact numbers of drivers or their location. This is more of a visual effect letting people know that partners are searching for fares.

I know this seems a misleading to you but it is meant as more of a visual effect more than an accurate location of drivers in the area. It would be better of you to think of this as a screen saver on a computer. Once a rider request a trip there will be actual information about the partners [sic] location showing up in the app.

Rosenblatt's Motherboard piece also delves into the strategies Uber drivers use to make the most money during times of surge pricing. Read the rest here


 Last month, French authorities arrested two Uber executives for running an illegal taxi company.

 California also declared that Uber drivers are employees, not contractors, as the company considers them. 

Cover: Motherboard