With more than 15 million Uber trips happening daily across 700 cities and six continents worldwide, the core systems powering the Uber platform must be both scalable and reliable—a daunting ask for any engineering organization. Uber has more than a dozen global engineering sites, including several in Europe, that bring unique expertise and experiences to our technical teams and enable us to deliver innovative solutions on a global scale.
On June 13, 2019, Uber Engineering hosted a day-long event dedicated to showcasing the technologies created by our European technical teams. During the showcase, members of our Aarhus, Denmark, Amsterdam, Netherlands, Sofia, Bulgaria, and Vilnius, Lithuania offices presented on how they build products that empower safe, reliable, and seamless transportation for millions of users.
The event featured keynote presentations and lightning tech talks delivered by members of our engineering, product, data science, and design teams, and a panel discussion with members of the European tech community. The day closed with a networking session for Uber employees and attendees who connected over their experiences in Europe’s burgeoning technology communities.
Read on for more about the event, and be sure to check out our highlights reel, below:
Keynote: Growing Uber Engineering in Europe
Uber Engineering’s European teams build many of the systems that make our global operations scalable and reliable, powering over 15B cumulative trips–enough to total 55,000 roundtrips to the moon!—on our platform. Engineering Director and Uber Aarhus Engineering Site Lead, Steffen Grarup, delivered the day’s keynote. During his presentation he discussed the history of Uber’s European engineering teams, highlighting flagship technical moments since he joined the company over five years ago, and shared his excitement for the future of our engineering organization as we continue to expand our lines of business at scale.
Scaling Payments Across the World: From Cash to Apple Pay
As Uber expands to serve new markets and transportation modalities, the Uber platform must adapt to meet the payment needs of our growing customer base. In this presentation, Amsterdam’s lead Sr. Product Manager, Ebi Atawodi, discussed how we seamlessly implement and on the Uber platform, from building out cash functionality in India in 2016 to integrating with Apple Pay, Venmo, and other digital payment options across the world. Now, since a significant portion of Uber’s global trips are paid for in cash, the cross-functionality of our engineering, product management, user experience, and operations teams are more important than ever.
Building a Front-end Ecosystem at Uber
To create a unified and flexible platform for our diverse suite of internal marketing tools, our Uber Amsterdam AdTech Engineering team needed to build customized front-end architecture that weaved together a fabric of existing microservices. During this tech talk, Amsterdam engineering manager Simon Galkov and engineer Vladimir Milenko shared best practices for building a front-end ecosystem through the lens of our AdTech platform for internal marketing teams.
Reliable Builds at Uber: The Future is Distributed
As Uber grows, so too does the amount of code pushed to our codebase and the time it takes to produce builds through continuous integration. In this talk, engineer Simon Soriano from the Developer Platform team discussed how Uber ensures the reliability and ease of builds using horizontal scaling in a distributed system, reducing build times and increasing automation through tooling.
Under the Hood of Uber’s Payment Profile Storage Platform
With 30 ways to pay on the Uber platform, it’s important that our engineering teams build technologies to ensure the security, compliance, and accessibility of payment information regardless of how users choose to pay for Uber services. During this presentation, engineer Caroline Van den Hauwe discussed how we rebuilt our payments storage system to increase flexibility through new schemas and a re-designed legacy store.
Enhancing Infrastructure Sustainability at Uber
To ensure that Uber’s infrastructure can continue scaling reliably, we launched Crane, a project dedicated to building a more sustainable means of infrastructure operations through automation both in the cloud and on-prem. In this talk, Lithuania’s Engineering Site Lead Vaidas Zlotkus (above) and engineer Martynas Buivys discussed how and why we built Crane, as well as provided a behind-the-scenes look at Job Controller, a low-level infrastructure service deployment tool developed by members of our Vilnius office and one of Crane’s key components.
Sharing Uber’s Experimentation Best Practices
From optimizing the Uber Eats recommendation dashboard to generating more accurate rider demand forecasts, experimentation is an important part of product development, empowering technical teams to improve the user experience on our platform through incremental testing and research. In this talk, senior data scientist Karina Kisselite shared insights on how we approach experimentation at Uber, what the experiment lifecycle looks like, and what happens if we need to leverage methods beyond standard A/B testing.
Infrastructure Deployment, Configuration, and Storage at Uber
The Aarhus, Denmark Engineering team designs, builds, and operates large-scale infrastructure that is critical to the health of Uber’s tech stack. As Uber’s platform grows, the team has expanded our deployment and storage technologies to improve the reliability and scale of Uber’s infrastructure. During this presentation, engineers Anders Madsen and Sid Shukla highlighted the team’s various technologies, including systems for automatically provisioning storage, blob storage management, and dynamic configuration, as well as provide a sneak peak at new and exciting projects they are currently working on.
Rapid Response and Outage Mitigation
With our distributed microservice architecture, Uber’s Site Reliability team must ensure that all services are working no matter the owner or location in the stack. During this talk, engineer Daniel Simmons discussed how Uber reduces time-to-mitigation for high impact incidents across our stack by leveraging incident response and alerting best practices.
Scaling the Uber Driver Sign-Up Experience with Assisted Access
Uber’s Driver Access team grows Uber’s driver-partner sign-up pipeline by designing innovative ways to target market-specific sign-up pain points, including limited internet connectivity, vehicle access, and changing driver regulations. In this talk, engineering manager Chris Brauchli (above) and product manager Alex Lyubin walked through how we addressed these unexpected points of friction for driver-partners through thoughtful and iterative solutions, including peer-to-peer referral systems, app support in low connectivity regions, and easier image capture for on-boarding documents.
Growing an Engineering Organization with Distributed Sites
Many engineering organizations open sites around the world in order to scale their engineering teams and deliver on a growing list of business critical initiatives. At the same time, launching distributed sites can be a challenging process, particularly when it comes to ensuring long-term success and value for the organization. In this talk, Uber Sofia engineering manager Marin Dimitrov shared some of his best practices and lessons learned regarding scaling up distributed engineering sites through the lens of Uber’s Sofia office.
A special thanks to Uber’s Tech Brand team, Morgan Sebree, Uber Amsterdam’s Site Program Manager, and the volunteers from our European offices who donated their time and expertise to presenting at the showcase.