Markets

Sony to form alliance to build taxi-hailing system in Japan

Sony to form alliance to build taxi-hailing system in Japan

Sony has announced that it teamed up with six taxi companies in Japan to launch an AI-powered ride-hailing service.

Uber's new CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, is now in Asia and announced that Uber also plans to team up with taxi companies in Japan.

Hailing a taxi rarely takes more than a few seconds in major Japanese cities and there has been a relatively sluggish uptake of services like Uber, where consumers order an unlicensed vehicle via a smartphone app.

Such moves are in marked contrast to the Travis Kalanick "foot to the metal" Uber era approach to regulatory roadblocks - which the company used to expand rapidly across the globe in its early years, exploiting the disconnect between new technologies and policymakers' understand of them. It's also said to be considering a sale of its Southeast Asian business.

Sony said it was planning a joint venture to offer artificial intelligence technology to six taxi operators, which now own a total of 10,000 vehicles in Tokyo.

Kawanabe has set up its own taxi-hailing company, JapanTaxi, winning investment from Toyota Motor Corp along the way, and has 60,000 taxis registered with the service.

"It's clear to me that we need to come in with partnership in mind, and in particular a partnership with the taxi industry here, which actually has a very, very strong product", Khosrowshahi said on his first trip to Asia as Uber CEO, according to comments reported by Bloomberg.

Florida shooter makes first appearance in court
How and why that comment ended up on Bennight's Youtube page on September 25, 2017, is still a mystery to the bondsman. He says "they're going to have to get with YouTube about where the comment originated, but I think they already know".

In January, SoftBank became the largest single shareholder in Uber.

Uber's CEO said Japan's taxi utilization rate is 30 percent, while Uber's is more than 50 percent.

Uber says it has 300 drivers using its app in the market and "nearly 19,000 regular users".

After years of little action, Japan's lackluster ride-hailing industry is suddenly seeing a lot of activity.

Sony aims to launch the new venture in spring alongside a new payment service. Last November the ride-sharing company announced a partnership with NASA in their efforts to take their app to the skies.

This month, SoftBank Group Corp and China's Didi Chuxing said they would roll out a venture in Japan this year to provide matching services.


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