UPDATE 1-Uber to invest $500 million in global mapping project -FT

(Updates with background on mapping cars and spokeswoman declined to comment)

NEW YORK, July 31 (Reuters) - Ride-hailing service Uber will invest $500 million in an ambitious global mapping project to wean itself off dependence on Google Maps and pave the way for driverless cars, the Financial Times reported on Sunday.

The San Francisco-based company is ramping up spending in new technologies such as mapping and driverless cars following new investments in the company earlier this year, the report said.

An Uber spokeswoman declined to comment on the report.

Last week, Uber executive Brian McClendon, who was formerly the head of Google Maps, said the company was “doubling down” its investments in mapping. It put mapping cars on the road in the United States last year and was sending them into Mexico this summer, he said in a statement posted on Uber’s website. (Reporting by Catherine Ngai; Editing by Marguerita Choy and Dan Grebler)