Sony forms alliance to bring AI ride hailing service to Japan

Marcus Newton
February 20, 2018

Sony plans to build the AI-based hailing platform with Daiwa Motor Transportation and four other domestic taxi firms, the Nikkei said. Basically instead of taxis being dispatched manually via a main center, this AI hailing system will use algorithms to determine where to send taxis most efficiently.

Sony issued a news release stating its intentions to create an AI system to support six existing taxi firms that have agreed to enter into the deal. Sony says it intends to introduce different packages to suit the different needs of each platform. That means its core service, that it offers in major markets like the USA and United Kingdom, is not in full operation in Japan.

The U.S. ride-hailing company has faced bans, restrictions and protests around the world as it disrupts conventional taxi services.

Sony's declaration came just before Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, who is presently going to Asia, said the organization needs to frame more associations with Japanese taxi organizations.

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Sony, however, plans to push things even further as its service would be powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI). By combining Uber's brand, technology, along with demand from tourists and partnerships with the taxi industry, he said the result would be a "win-win" for Uber and the taxi industry. Khosrowshahi pushed back against that notion in an interview he gave at Davos, saying the company would be "leaning forward" to expand. He was speaking with Roos, a co-founding partner at Geodesic Capital, an Uber investor. As per Bloomberg, Khosrowshahi, who joined Uber last August, said he trusts Japan is an "extraordinarily opportunity", yet that the organization's past approach "honestly didn't work".

Uber Technologies Inc. aims to introduce its ride-hailing services across Japan in around 2020 by joining hands with local taxi firms, its chief executive officer said Tuesday.

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. Toyota Motor Corp. has teamed up with Nihon Kotsu Co.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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