Sony takes on ride-hailing in Japan as Uber looks for partners


Asked about SoftBank, which in January became Uber's biggest investor, Khosrowshahi said the Japanese telecoms and investment company is "simply the smartest money in the transportation space".

The services developed will be offered to all platforms available to taxi operators that wish to participate across Japan. Sony has previously implemented its AI technology in products like its Aibo robot dog.

When you think of ride-hailing systems, we're pretty sure that Sony doesn't come to mind, but apparently that's a perception the company wants to change.

The Japanese electronics giant, along with Daiwa Motor Transportation Corporation and five other taxi firms, will aim to establish the new company in the spring. Therefore, ride-hailing applications in Japan coordinate travelers with authorized taxicabs, rather than non-proficient drivers. It, too, is working on an AI-powered dispatch system. Daiichi Koutsu has already announced plans to team with Didi Chuxing, China's largest ride-hailing company.

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Last month Rajeev Misra, a SoftBank executive joining Uber's board, suggested in an interview with the Financial Times that Uber focus on core markets such as the US, Europe, Latin America and Australia. This keeps Uber from offering its trademark service in the country, aside from certain sparsely populated areas.

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

A blog post has been released by the company, which writes about the recently announced move that it is not yet cleared that how will their service be integrated in the form of transport model now existing since it has launched in the transport industry three years ago. Efforts are underway to enable online payment for distance-based fares. They also plan to introduce dynamic pricing - in which fares fluctuate based on supply and demand - in fiscal 2018. This would concentrate more data into a single service, likely making it even more attractive to taxi providers and riders alike.