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