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Sony working on AI-based taxi hailing app

The app will be able to put taxis near customers before they are hailed.

Sony is partnering with Japanese taxi companies to develop an AI-based taxi hailing app.

According to The Nikkei Asian Review, the electronics giant will use the fleets of five major taxi companies in Tokyo to gather data on cab movements. The new app will then use this data, in addition to traffic patterns, weather reports and schedules of major events to predict taxi movements across the capital city. The goal is to have taxis ready, before they are even hailed, in areas where there are likely to be the most passengers. The app includes a digital payment system developed by Sony as well.

This year alone, Toyota and Nissan have both announced partnerships with tech companies to modernize taxi fleets for the smartphone age. Toyota is partnering with existing taxi hailing app JapanTaxi and Nissan announced an autonomous taxi service called Easy Ride.

Tokyo has several rival taxi companies and many of its residents do not own cars. Ride sharing apps like Uber and Lyft have yet to catch on in Japan, where cabs are affordable and commonplace.