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Toyota is building a prototype city in Japan


Toyota has revealed plans to build a prototype “city of the future” on a 175-acre site at the base of Mt. Fuji in Japan.

Called the Woven City, Toyota claims it will be a fully connected ecosystem powered by hydrogen fuel cells.

Toyota hopes it will serve as a home to full-time residents and researchers who will be able to test and develop technologies such as autonomy, robotics, personal mobility, smart homes and artificial intelligence in a real-world environment. The plan is for 2,000 people to start, adding more as the project evolves.

The groundbreaking for the site is planned for early 2021.

Commenting, Steve Tormey Toyota Ireland CEO said: “The Woven City is an incredible and totally unique opportunity for Toyota and the world at large. Innovation is at the heart of Toyota and the cornerstone of the brand’s DNA and our plans for the Woven City is a real testament of that.

“By creating a fully connected ecosystem powered through hydrogen fuel cells we are cementing Toyota’s place as being a leader not only in the motoring field but also in additional technologies including robotics, personal mobility, smart homes and artificial intelligence. We look forward to the creation of the Woven City and to continue to play our part in creating a better world for our children’s children.”

Toyota plans on extending an open invitation to collaborate with other commercial and academic partners and invite interested scientists and researchers from around the world to come work on their own projects in the city.

For the design of Woven City, Toyota has commissioned Danish architect, Bjarke Ingels, CEO, Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG). His team at BIG have designed many high-profile projects: from 2 World Trade Center in New York and Lego House in Denmark, to Google’s Mountain View and London headquarters.

Design of the City
The masterplan of the city includes the designations for street usage into three types: for faster vehicles only, for a mix of lower speed, personal mobility and pedestrians, and for a park-like promenade for pedestrians only. These three street types weave together to form an organic grid pattern to help accelerate the testing of autonomy.

The city is planned to be fully sustainable, with buildings made mostly of wood to minimise the carbon footprint, using traditional Japanese wood joinery, combined with robotic production methods. The rooftops will be covered in photo-voltaic panels to generate solar power in addition to power generated by hydrogen fuel cells. Toyota plans to weave in the outdoors throughout the city, with native vegetation and hydroponics.

Residences will be equipped with the latest in human support technologies, such as in-home robotics to assist with daily living. The homes will use sensor-based AI to check occupants’ health, take care of basic needs and enhance daily life, creating an opportunity to deploy connected technology with integrity and trust, securely and positively.

To move residents through the city, only fully-autonomous, zero-emission vehicles will be allowed on the main thoroughfares. In and throughout Woven City, autonomous Toyota e-Palettes will be used for transportation and deliveries, as well as for changeable mobile retail.

Both neighbourhood parks and a large central park for recreation, as well as a central plaza for social gatherings, are designed to bring the community together. Toyota says that encouraging human connection will be an equally important aspect of this experience.