Sony Corp. is moving forward with plans to introduce a taxi-hailing service in Japan, unveiling a joint venture with cab companies called “Everybody’s Taxi.”
The electronics maker, which announced in February that it was forming the alliance, said on Thursday it will begin services within the current fiscal year through March. Subsidiary Sony Payment Services was also added to the project, indicating that it plans to include transaction settlement with its dispatch service.
Japan’s ride-hailing industry is seeing much more activity these days. Uber Technologies Inc. will start a taxi-hailing pilot program in the remote island of Awaji this summer. China’s Didi Chuxing plans to begin trial services with a local taxi operator. Japan Taxi, the dispatch app run by the chairman of Nihon Kotsu Co., has also been actively promoting its services. The 2020 Tokyo Olympics will bring even more tourists to the archipelago, and taxi companies are looking for ways to make it easier for customers to hail cabs and get to their destinations.
Sony said that its seven partnering taxi companies have a combined fleet of more than 10,000 cars in the capital. The joint venture plans to use artificial-intelligence technology to make sure that supply meets demand, so that passengers are efficiently matched to rides.