Rapido: Finding the quickest route to success with Google Maps Platform

About Rapido

Founded in 2015, Rapido operates a mobile app-based two-wheeler taxi service across more than 40 cities in India. More than 100,000 drivers provide Rapido two-wheeler taxi services, while more than 400,000 current or prospective drivers have downloaded the company's app. Consumers have downloaded the app more than 5 million times and the business receives about 5 million orders per month for taxi services.

Industries: Travel & Hospitality
Location: India

About Searce

Searce is a cloud consulting, data engineering, and AI & ML company that has partnered with over 1,800 clients to help futurify their businesses. Google Cloud recognized Searce as its 2018 Google Cloud JAPAC Reseller Partner of the Year. Searce specializes in building and managing data lakes; helping customers move and improve to the right cloud for them; and leveraging applied AI & ML to transform business processes for clients in financial services, services, retail and logistics, manufacturing, media and entertainment, and the technology startup sector.

With help from Searce, Rapido has optimized Google Maps Platform to deliver a fast, reliable, and customer-centric mobile app-based two-wheeler taxi service across more than 40 cities in India.

Google Cloud Results

  • Enables the business to optimize use of Maps Platform APIs
  • Takes 5 million orders per month
  • Establishes a robust platform for expansion

Helps ensure drivers pick up most customers within 2 to 5 minutes

Founded in 2015, Rapido operates a mobile app-based two-wheeler taxi service across more than 40 cities in India. More than 100,000 drivers provide Rapido two-wheeler taxi services, while more than 400,000 current or prospective drivers have downloaded the company's app. Consumers have downloaded the app more than 5 million times, and the business receives about 5 million orders per month for taxi services.

"Google Maps Platform was particularly interesting to our business and we saw enormous potential to use it to improve our service and gain a competitive edge."

Rishikesh SR, Co-Founder, Rapido

"If a consumer wants to travel from point A to point B, they simply open up the app on their smartphone, select pickup and dropoff locations, and tap 'request,'" explains Rishikesh SR, Co-Founder, Rapido. "We can track that request to the nearest available two-wheeler taxi and allocate the job to the right driver."

Google a compelling opportunity

The business started operations on a cloud service. However, Google presented a compelling opportunity to Rapido to improve its location-based intelligence through a wide range of cloud-based map APIs, infrastructure, and mobile app development services. "Google Maps Platform was particularly interesting to our business and we saw enormous potential to use it to improve our service and gain a competitive edge," says Rishikesh.

Rapido elected to use Geocoding API to enable its app to convert addresses to geographic coordinates, and the reverse, allowing consumers to identify point A and point B on their journey. The company also uses Directions API to identify the fastest route between pickup and dropoff locations, which enables Rapido to provide users with approximate prices for trips. Distance Matrix API is used to calculate the travel times and distances between locations, and Maps SDKs for Android and iOS to add interactive maps to the app.

"Google Maps Platform is particularly useful for us as it identifies optimum routes for two-wheel services," says Rishikesh. "This saves us time and money, while helping us deliver a better consumer experience."

In addition, Rapido uses the Snap to Roads service to deliver best-fit geometry for sets of GPS coordinates within the Roads API, which identifies and provides metadata about the roads on which drivers travel. "Snap to Roads in Roads API allows us to optimize the path drivers take and helps ensure the fare charged is accurate," says Rishikesh.

Improving user experiences

As Rapido matured, Rishikesh considered how to improve the user experience of the app while reducing the business' costs. In 2017, Rapido asked Google Cloud Premier Partner and Google Maps Platform Partner Searce to help meet these objectives. Searce provided the technical and business advice that prompted Rapido to take advantage of the unlimited API calls, 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week support, and strict SLAs available through the Google Maps APIs Premium Plan for Asset Tracking.

"Searce's technical skill with Google Maps Platform put us on the right path to provide a better, more relevant user experience."

Rishikesh SR, Co-Founder, Rapido

Searce also helped Rapido optimize its API calls and integrate directions and distance calls with the Roads API to smooth out variations in GPS readings received from the handsets of two-wheeler taxi owners. Finally, Searce helped Rapido deploy the Firebase mobile and web development platform to automate the mode configuration of the API keys, rather than maintain a time-consuming manual process. This move also minimized the likelihood of any issues arising if Rapido decided to start multiple projects or add more licenses, or combine Google Maps APIs Premium Plan for Asset Tracking with an external license.

Technical skill and experience

Searce finalized its initial engagement with Rapido last year and provides ongoing support and advice. "Searce's technical skill with Google Maps Platform put us on the right path to provide a better, more relevant user experience," says Rishikesh.

Rapido also now uses a range of Firebase services for app development, testing, and modification. The business employs Google Analytics for Firebase to measure customer use of and engagement with its app, enabling the business to make informed decisions about where to direct its resources. In addition, the business is using the Firebase Test Lab app-testing infrastructure to test its Android and iOS apps across a range of device configurations, view the outcomes, and make changes as needed.

Rapido uses Firebase Remote Config to change the app's behavior and appearance on the fly in response to the results of A/B testing across sections of its user base. Furthermore, Rapido uses Firebase Crashlytics to provide app crash reports to its Firebase console.

Firebase Dynamic Links allows Rapido to direct users to linked content in the iOS or Android version of the app, while Firebase Cloud Messaging enables Rapido to deliver notifications and other messages to users. Cloud Firestore provides a NoSQL cloud database to store and sync data for the Rapido app.

Rapido has also started using the Firebase Realtime Database to store and sync information about customers that can be used to provide a more informed, personalized service.

At the same time, Rapido uses a BigQuery data warehouse to process about 10TB of data every month for analysis and reporting that supports decision-making across the business. The organization is also using application containerization through Google Kubernetes Engine on Google Cloud Platform.

"With Google, we are delivering the right experience to users through Google Maps Platform, Firebase, and Google Cloud Platform services. We have realized our vision faster and now have a robust platform to grow in the future."

Rishikesh SR, Co-Founder, Rapido

"We are moving our apps from dedicated virtual machines to a scalable containerized environment that consumes fewer resources," says Rishikesh. "It makes sense to work with Google – the business that designed the Kubernetes container-orchestration system."

Rapido has also started using the Cloud Functions event-driven serverless compute platform to process smaller jobs. "This is ideal for small use cases in particular as we do not have to spin up virtual machine instances," says Rishikesh.

Finally, Rapido is using image classification through the Vision AI service to analyze riders' documentation, such as driving licenses. This allows the business to verify details such as names, addresses, and expiry dates with more than 90 percent accuracy – a high rate in a country where each state has its own license template.

Expanding rapidly to new cities

The Rapido app enables drivers to pick up customers quickly – in most cases, between 2 and 5 minutes.

Overall, the high-quality experience for consumers and drivers delivered by Google Maps Platform, combined with Firebase, has helped power Rapido to robust growth. The business now takes more than 5 million orders per month.

"With Google, we are delivering the right experience to users through Google Maps Platform, Firebase, and Google Cloud Platform services," concludes Rishikesh. "We have realized our vision faster and now have a robust platform to grow in the future."

About Rapido

Founded in 2015, Rapido operates a mobile app-based two-wheeler taxi service across more than 40 cities in India. More than 100,000 drivers provide Rapido two-wheeler taxi services, while more than 400,000 current or prospective drivers have downloaded the company's app. Consumers have downloaded the app more than 5 million times and the business receives about 5 million orders per month for taxi services.

Industries: Travel & Hospitality
Location: India

About Searce

Searce is a cloud consulting, data engineering, and AI & ML company that has partnered with over 1,800 clients to help futurify their businesses. Google Cloud recognized Searce as its 2018 Google Cloud JAPAC Reseller Partner of the Year. Searce specializes in building and managing data lakes; helping customers move and improve to the right cloud for them; and leveraging applied AI & ML to transform business processes for clients in financial services, services, retail and logistics, manufacturing, media and entertainment, and the technology startup sector.

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