Sony has launched a taxi-hailing service in the Japanese capital of Tokyo as part of a joint venture that it’s leading. The ride-hailing landscape is a bit different in Japan compared to other countries across the globe where services like Uber reign supreme. S.Ride is a major entry into this landscape and is available for use starting today.
The S.Ride app can be used to flag down regular taxis. Riders can choose to pay with cash, a digital wallet that’s QR code-powered, or through a credit card. It’s a good option for those who don’t want to head out on the street to hail a taxi on their own but that’s hardly going to be an issue for people in the busy areas of Tokyo.
Bear in mind that the letter S in S.Ride doesn’t actually stand for Sony. It’s meant to represent the core characteristics of the service which are “simple, smart, and speedy.” Sony does mention that the app relies on artificial intelligence technology to predict where demand will be high and dispatches drivers accordingly.
The joint venture is a collaboration between Sony Payment Services, Sony Corp, and six taxi companies. They include Daiwa and Kokusai which are two of the biggest taxi operators in Tokyo. Sony says that S.Ride will have a fleet size of over 10,000 vehicles.
Uber is present in Japan but only has a small fraction of the market since it offers premium black cars in Tokyo. It has started teaming up with taxi companies recently, though.