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 (AI)-based hailing system.
Japan is seen as a potentially lucrative ride-hailing market, with regulators under pressure to ease stringent rules.
Currently, non-professional drivers are barred from offering taxi services on safety grounds, and ride-hailing companies are limited to services that “match” users to existing taxi fleets via mobile platforms.
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 said it will take a stake in taxi-hailing service JapanTaxi, set up by Japan’s largest taxi firm, Nihon Kotsu.
Uber’s new chief executive, Dara Khosrowshahi, is in Tokyo meeting regulators.