Sony may launch an AI-powered taxi hailing system

Feb 20, 2018, 18:30
Sony may launch an AI-powered taxi hailing system

Sony Corp said on Tuesday it would become the latest blue-chip firm to jockey for position in Japan's taxi and ride-hailing market, with plans for a joint venture to develop an artificial intelligence-based hailing system.

Sony is partnering with five local taxi providers in Tokyo, including Daiwa Motor Transportation, Hinomaru Kotsu, Kokusai Motorcars, Green Cab and the Checker Cab group, Nikkei said.

The technology would use AI to predict demand for taxis and allow companies to more efficiently mobilise their resources.

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And on Tuesday, just an hour before Khosrowshahi spoke, Sony Corp. unveiled an alliance with six taxi operators in Japan, which have a combined fleet of more than 10,000 cabs in the greater Tokyo area.

During his first stop in Japan, he said he's willing to forge partnerships with taxi companies in order to succeed, even though Uber has less than a 1-percent market share and only offers limited services there.

The ride-hailing service industry faces fierce competition from taxis as well as new entrants offering similar services. But its new chief executive, Dara Khosrowshahi, has struck a more conciliatory tone after a string of controversies that emerged under the former CEO, Travis Kalanick.

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"Sony is as far removed from the self driving business as Google is", Mueller continued. The ride-sharing company is trying to cultivate business relationships with several taxi companies in Japan in order to carve a stake in the $16 billion taxi market, according to Bloomberg.

"It is clear to me that we need to come in with partnership in mind and in particular partnership with the taxi industry", he said without providing specifics.

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

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Customers will be able to summon the flying taxis through smartphone apps. As a result, Uber is focused on creating its own dispatch system for taxi operators. Daiichi Koutsu has already announced plans to team with Didi Chuxing, China's largest ride-hailing company.

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