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Toyota working with Japanese cab industry to create next-generation taxi

The goal is to make this new cab available some time next year.

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I tried very hard to think of a good "Taxi Driver" reference to shoehorn into this story, but I fell short. I'm sorry.

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Mobility is a many-headed beast. For an automaker to keep thriving in a world where car ownership isn't on everyone's minds, it needs to keep branching out. Toyota understands mobility well, and it's keeping its assets diversified. To that end, it's working with Japan's taxi industry to create the cab of tomorrow...today!

Okay, maybe it's not coming today, but it's definitely coming soon. Toyota hopes to have its next-generation Japanese taxi ready to go in 2017, Reuters reports. The automaker will place extra focus on accessibility for children, the elderly and tourists, which happen to be three groups with wildly varying needs.

Toyota's working closely with the Japan Federation of Hire-Taxi Associations to ensure that the next-generation taxi meets the needs of both riders and drivers alike. Toyota already manufacturers a majority of the country's cabs. Reuters points out. You'd think Toyota's work in autonomous-vehicle development would scare the cab industry a bit, but that doesn't appear to be the case.

Japan's taxi industry has been very strongly anti-ridesharing. As a result, Uber has yet to plant roots in the country. Weirdly enough, Toyota also has a deal with Uber going, so it's kind of playing both sides at the same time.