Sony Corp. to Launch an AI-based Taxi-Hailing Service in Japan
20 February 2018, 06:28 | Andres Norman
Sony takes on ride-hailing in Japan as Uber looks for partners
However, the company Uber, who's emollient CEO is Dara Khosrowshahi as well as the unaware playground, i.e. the associated cities for the VC-fueled company's services, both have moved on and awakened of the disruptive playbook of the tech giant.
Uber's CEO said Japan's taxi utilization rate is 30 percent, while Uber's is more than 50 percent.
Uber early previous year hired Mark Moore, a former engineer at NASA, to lead its exploration of flying vehicle technology, showing how serious it appears to be about the for now nascent technological prospect.
Khosrowshahi says that Japan looks like an "incredible opportunity", but Uber's approach has failed to yield the desired results.
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.
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Sony wants to develop a ride-hailing app powered by artificial intelligence and provide a payment service. Last November the ride-sharing company announced a partnership with NASA in their efforts to take their app to the skies.
Sony did not announce a specific date for when it plans to launch the service, or whether it will eventually expand its availability outside of Japan.
"Sony is as far removed from the self driving business as Google is", Mueller continued.
Some of the most vigorous opposition to industry deregulation has come from the "prince of taxis" Ichiro Kawanabe, chairman of Japan's largest taxi firm Nihon Kotsu Co Ltd.
Uber is planning to team up with local taxi provider - Daiichi Koutsu Sangyo to provide a taxi platform; while Toyota recently invested a large sum of money into JapanTaxi app and is also working on its own AI taxi system. He was speaking with Roos, a co-founding partner at Geodesic Capital, an Uber investor. That's a turnaround from previous boss Travis Kalanick who largely left the country in the hands of a country manager. The goal is to launch the new ride-hailing company this spring. If Sony doesn't get in early, it risks missing out on what could be a hot market.
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