Sony last year announced it would enter Japan’s taxi-hailing space and, good to its word, the electronics giant has kicked off its S.steer service in Tokyo.
The service — which was first noted by CNET — is a joint escapade between Sony, its payment services subsidiary and five licensed taxi companies. Because steer-hailing with civilian cars is illicit in Japan, the service will focus on connecting licensed taxis with passengers. The electronics giant previously played up its use of AI to match supply and require and, on the payment side, it supports QR scans as well as an uber-style cashless credit card.
All together, S.steer claims to cover 10,000 licensed taxis in Tokyo. Its largest tournament is JapanTaxi, an escapade from the taxi industry that’s backed by Toyota among others, which claims 50,000 vehicles across Japan as a whole. Other rivals include chat app Line, which has offered taxi-hailing for years; Uber, which has been working on striking deals with taxi operators; and China’s Didi Chuxing, which operates a joint-escapade with Uber investor SoftBank. Lyft has expressed an interest in Japan, where its investor Rakuten is a major name, but it has not expanded there yet.
A Sony spokesperson told CNET there are no plans to launch S.steer overseas, so we can file this in the “only in Japan” file.