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In an effort to expand its artificial intelligence (AI) presence in the commercial and business sector, Sony now plans to lead a project to develop an AI-powered taxi-hailing system.
Nikkei Asian Review reported on Tuesday that the system, which will first be offered in Japan, will help dispatch taxis more efficiently and analyze factors such as a user's past rides, traffic, weather, and ongoing events. An example would be directing more taxis towards an entertainment center once a scheduled show ends.
Sony is not preparing a ride-sharing service, but merely a tool to enhance taxi operators' businesses. In fact, Japan has effectively banned ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft with regulations surrounding personal vehicles used for such services. Germany is another major country that's also banned such services.
Sony's eye on the taxi industry would create a solid stream of revenue via fees. Its initial partnership includes Daiwa Motor Transportation, Hinomaru Kotsu, Kokusai Motorcars, Green Cab, and the Checker Cab group.
The Japanese company best known for its consumer electronics won't be alone in developing an AI-powered dispatch solution, though. Already, an app developer by the name of JapanTaxi has announced a partnership with Toyota to develop a similar AI-based solution. Uber has also partnered with Japan's Daiichi Koutsu Sangyo to create taxi-hailing systems.
For now, AI-powered hailing systems is a race no one is leading. But Sony might change that by bringing its AI expertise to the sector. The company already uses AI in various electronic goods and has instituted multiple AI-focused partnerships in Japan.