Smartphone apps replacing embedded telematics units for hailing, dispatching taxis

Some apps bypass traditional cab companies, others integrate with existing dispatch systems, says ABI

Smartphone apps are replacing embedded in-vehicle telematics units as the primary communications technology for hailing cabs and managing taxi fleets, according to ABI Research.

With these apps, customers are able to order a taxi from their smartphones and drivers are able to receive pick-up requests on their phones. Well-known smartphone taxi apps include Allocab, Hailo Cab, Uber Taxi, Easy Taxi, Kabbee, mytaxi, GetTaxi,, Didi-Dache, Huaidi-Dache, MiniCabster, and Yongche, relates ABI.

Some of these apps, such as Hailo Cab, bypass the taxi company altogether and establish direct communication between the customer and the driver of an independent taxi, while others, such as Kabbee, integrate with the taxi companies' dispatch system.

Taxi cab companies are fighting back and enlisting their regulatory allies to clamp down on the service. In some countries, regulators are developing guidelines on the use of taxi apps, which include rules related to driver distraction and fare payments via smartphones. These measures are designed to make things more difficult for independent app companies, says ABI.

Undeterred, taxi app companies, backed by tech entrepreneurs, are expanding their business model globally.

"Although it remains to be seen whether these companies will ultimately become profitable, the sheer convenience of these taxi apps means that very few of those who have used them will want to do without them, and so taxis apps are probably here to stay," observes Gareth Owen, principal analyst at ABI Research

For more:
- see ABI's release

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