CES 2020

Toyota to build 175-acre prototype city of the future at the base of Mt. Fuji

Toyota's city of the future will run only on hydrogen and solar power.

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

Toyota is taking a page out of Hyundai's playbook when it comes to conceptualizing cities of future, but the Japanese automaker is taking it one major step further. They're actually building the city.

Called the Woven City, the 175-acre development will be fully powered by hydrogen fuel cells and serve as a living laboratory for full-time residents and researchers. Unlike the three-acre Biospehere 2, Woven City will not be enclosed and secluded from the real world.

Toyota Woven City 2020 2021Woven City will incorporate a number of green spaces.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

Woven City will feature autonomous, personal mobility, smart home, and artificial intelligence technologies working together in a way that has never been tested before.

"Building a complete city from the ground up, even on a small scale like this, is a unique opportunity to develop future technologies, including a digital operating system for the city's infrastructure," said Akio Toyoda, president, Toyota Motor Corporation. "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 the physical realms … maximizing its potential."

Woven City isn't an exclusive opportunity for Toyota. The company will open the site to commercial and academic partners as well as scientists and researchers from around the world.

"We welcome all those inspired to improve the way we live in the future, to take advantage of this unique research ecosystem and join us in our quest to create an ever-better way of life and mobility for all," said Toyoda.

Toyota Woven City 2020 2021Woven City will be a live-work-pay community.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

Danish architect Bjarke Ingels, CEO, Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) has been commissioned to design Woven City. BIG has worked on many high-profile projects including 2 World Trade Center in New York, the Lego House in Denmark, and Google's Mountain View and London headquarters.

"A swarm of different technologies are beginning to radically change how we inhabit and navigate our cities," said Ingels. "Connected, autonomous, emission-free and shared mobility solutions are bound to unleash a world of opportunities for new forms of urban life. With the breadth of technologies and industries that we have been able to access and collaborate with from the Toyota ecosystem of companies, we believe we have a unique opportunity to explore new forms of urbanity with the Woven City that could pave new paths for other cities to explore."

Woven City's masterplan includes three types of street usage: vehicles-only, low speed personal mobility and pedestrians, and park-like promenades for pedestrians only. These three types serve as fertile testing ground for numerous types of autonomous technology.

Toyota is planning to have the entire space be fully sustainable. The buildings are mostly made of wood, which the company says is in an effort to minimize the carbon footprint of Woven City. Rooftops will be covered in photo-voltaic panels, which will generation solar power to supplement the hydrogen fuel cells. Native vegetation and hydroponics will also be features.

The homes of Woven City will have robotics designed to assist with daily living. Sensor-based AI will check occupants' health and assist with daily lifestyle needs.

Toyota's Woven City

Woven City, Japan, Toyota

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

According to Toyota, only fully-autonomous, zero-emission vehicles will be allowed on the main thoroughfares. Toyota e-Palettes will be used for transportation and deliveries, as well as for changeable mobile retail.

There will be neighborhood parks, a large central park, and a central plaza.

Toyota is planning to have 2,000 people inhabit Woven City to start with plans to add more as the project evolves. A groundbreaking is planned in early 2021.

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New minivan

Honda announces new Odyssey Sport

Sport is a new trim for the Odyssey minivan.

Honda

The Honda Odyssey may not be the most exciting vehicle in the world, but it's getting a new Sport model that at least makes it look the part. Honda will release the model for the 2023 model year, and the Odyssey line overall will be offered with a new Honda Service Pass, which includes two years of complimentary scheduled maintenance.

The Odyssey Sport slots into the Honda catalog between the EX-L and Touring trims. It comes with gloss-black exterior trim and black 19-inch wheels outside, and black leather with red stitching inside. The cabin comes with red accent lighting on the dash and in the footwells, and the roof pillars and headliner are both black. Under the hood, the Odyssey Sport gets the same 3.5-liter V6 from years past. It makes 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque, and comes paired with a ten=speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive.

2023 Honda Odyssey SportThe Sport comes with dark exterior trim and unique leather upholstery with red stitching inside. Honda

All Odyssey models come with Honda Sensing safety equipment, which includes adaptive cruise control and pedestrian detection. The 2023 van hasn't been crash-tested yet, but the 2022 model earned a Top Safety Pick + award, so it's likely the new model will be rated similarly.

Honda Service Pass is a new program for 2023+ Honda vehicles. It covers routine scheduled maintenance for up to two years or 24,000 miles, whichever comes first. Under the program, buyers get free oil changes, tire rotations, and multi-point inspections.

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The IIHS may increase the speeds it uses to test advanced driver aids.

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently announced that it is considering changing the speeds it uses to test vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention systems. The agency currently tests the systems at 12 and 25 mph, but says that the speeds don't accurately represent the types of crashes the safety tech is meant to prevent.

Front crash preventionwww.youtube.com

Automatic emergency braking (AEB) is designed to notify of a possible collision and help respond with automatic application of braking. Just like a human using the brake pedal, it can stop the car, but higher speeds make it difficult to stop in time. The new tests would be conducted at 35 to 45 mph, which is the range where a large number of rear-end crashes occur. As Automotive News noted, an IIHS study showed 43 percent of rear-end crashes occur at speeds of 45 mph or less, so it's important to have a test that shows how well the tech performs at those levels.

A whopping 85 percent of 2022 vehicles earned a "Superior" rating in the current testing regime, so the IIHS will remove it from 2023 testing and Top Safety Pick award evaluations. Their view is that, since the majority of vehicles meet the criteria, it's no longer an accurate way of evaluating performance. In its place, the agency introduced a night test for automatic emergency braking systems that will begin next year.

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