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

Friday, 23 Feb, 2018

The move, which was announced on February 20 will involve six Japanese taxi companies and provide a more robust taxi service using artificial intelligence.

Perhaps pledges or predictions of aerial, on-demand travel, which were first reported by Reuters, will persuade taxi firms in Japan to work with Uber and its massive technical infrastructure. Khosrowshahi noted that Japan's traditional taxi firms have failed to keep up with the technological advances. And expectations are high on the new fate of Sony; if some of its divisions would be offloaded to engineer focus on the viable market for the Electronics Company or new measures to fight for a position in TV market, certainly not sharing markets with Uber.

Khosrowshahi says that Japan looks like an "incredible opportunity", but Uber's approach has failed to yield the desired results. SoftBank is heavily present in the taxi market and recently took a 15% stake in Uber.

Earlier this month, SoftBank Group Corp. announced a partnership with China's Didi Chuxing and plans to begin trial services this year. Uber is also said to be in talks for a venture with Daiichi Koutsu. Together, they have over 10,000 vehicles in the capital.

This comes as Sony announced a revolutionary new taxi service which will use artificial intelligence (AI) in the country.

He added, "We're not going to see a taxi flying tomorrow, but it's much closer than what people think".

"Clearly we need a different way of doing business in Japan", Mr. Khosrowshahi said. Thus companies like Uber couldn't make a mark. That's a turnaround from previous boss Travis Kalanick who largely left the country in the hands of a country manager.

Sony is not the only one vying to seize the initiative in Japan's nascent market for cab-hailing platforms. The vast majority of taxis are hailed or hired from a cab rank, and a relatively small percentage of taxis are connected to a smartphone, posing another barrier to the success of apps such as Uber.