Uber hopes that this new source of revenue will help it reach a profit by the fourth quarter of 2020. This would be a major turnaround for the ride-hailing platform which has never been able to be profitable and just last April was concerned if it would ever turn one.
The new advertising efforts will launch in Dallas, Phoenix, and Atlanta with the screens added to around 1000 cars.
By the end of this year, the company aims to have the new program in additional markets including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, Chicago, and Las Vegas.
Uber also hopes that this new revenue stream opens up information gathering and allows the company to better aim advertising for specific consumers.
Previously, Uber had allowed drivers to seek out their own advertising platforms to add to their vehicles, but this will mark the first time the company supports its own platform.
The new displays will be from Cargo Systems which entered into an agreement with Uber to add in-vehicle services such as beauty products and snacks.
During the launch of the service, drivers will be paid $300 to add the screen to the top of their car and another $100 every week driven with the display for more than 20 hours. After April the pay structure will revert to an hourly model.
“After exploring this idea for over a year now, we realised that the timing is perfect to launch this new ad network and we couldn’t ask for a better partner than Adomni,” Brett Baker, lead, Uber OOH, said in a statement.
This isn't the only new addition to Uber's platform, recently the company added its new PIN feature. The service provides a four-digit code to riders to ensure they are getting into the right vehicle and that drivers are picking up the right customer.
This is in addition to RideCheck which allows riders or drivers to alert anyone if something wrong happens during a trip.
If pressed the alert asks both driver and passenger if everything is alright and includes an emergency button or the option to contact Uber's support system.
“Every trip is on the map, so we know where and when you’re riding and who’s behind the wheel. By using this data and other sensors in drivers’ smartphones, our technology can detect possible crashes or if a trip goes unusually off course,” an Uber statement said.