The company launched the Uber-like S.Ride app in Tokyo on Tuesday. That "S", according to advertising, stands for three words, none of which are Sony: "simple", "smart" and "speedy".
The app was officially launched by a company called Minna no Taxi, which translates to "Everybody's Taxi". Minna no Taxi is a joint venture between Sony Corporation, Sony Payment Services and several Japanese taxi companies.
Unlike Uber and Lyft, this is a taxi-hailer, not an app to catch rides with civilians. Ride-hailing services, unlike taxi-hailing services, are banned in Japan. Uber has plans to move into the country by partnering with a taxi company, reports Bloomberg.
That alliance was actually announced last February, according to Bloomberg, when Sony also said it would use artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms to predict demand throughout the day and dispatch supply accordingly. Sony last April got a new CEO, Kenichiro Yoshida, who quickly moved the company away from selling hardware and toward selling content and services, so S.Ride is roughly in this wheelhouse.
Sony has no current plans to launch the app outside of Japan, a Sony spokesperson said.