Toyota has revealed plans to build a prototype “city” of the future on a 175-acre site at the base of Mount Fuji in Japan. The Woven City will be a fully connected ecosystem, powered by hydrogen fuel cells.
Envisioned as a “living laboratory,” the city will be 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.
Neighbourhood parks, a large central recreation area and a central plaza for social gatherings will be designed to bring the community together.
Akio Toyoda, Toyota Motor Corporation President, said:
“Building a complete city from the ground up, even on a small scale like this, is a unique opportunity to develop future technologies. With people, buildings and vehicles all connected and communicating with each other through data and sensors, we will be able to test connected AI technology, in both the virtual and physical realms,maximising its potential.”
Toyota has commissioned Danish architect Bjarke Ingels, CEO of Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), to design Woven City.
Design of the city
The city is planned to be fully sustainable, with buildings made mostly of wood using traditional Japanese joinery and robotised production methods, to minimise the carbon footprint. The roofs will be covered in photo-voltaic panels to generate solar power, adding to the energy produced by hydrogen fuel cells. Toyota also plans to weave in the natural world throughout the city, with native vegetation and hydroponics.
Residential buildings will be equipped with the latest human support technologies, such as in-home robotics to assist with daily living. Homes will use sensor-based AI to check the occupants’ health, take care of basic needs and enhance daily life. The project will be an opportunity to deploy connected technology with integrity and trust, securely and positively.
Only fully autonomous, zero-emission vehicles will be allowed on the main thoroughfares to move residents around. Throughout the city, autonomous Toyota e-Palette vehicles will be used for transport and deliveries, and as changeable mobile retail units.
Toyota plans to populate Woven City with employees and their families, retired couples, retailers, visiting scientists and industry partners. The plan is to start with 2,000 people and increase the number as the city evolves.
Ground-breaking for the site is scheduled for early 2021. Those interested in partnering with the project can find more details at Woven-city.global.