Toyota's Woven City to be a 'living laboratory' for future tech in autonomy, robotics, mobility, and A.I.
We all know that Toyota has a city named after them located in the Aichi Prefecture in Japan. Home to the Toyota Automobile Museum, Toyota Stadium, and the company's Tsutumi plant, the industrial city mostly caters to workers and researchers that live and work at the many facilities and factories of Toyota.
However, it looks like Toyota plans on making a city of their own, complete with sustainable and cutting-edge technologies. Dubbed the 'Woven City', the prototype city will serve as a home to full-time residents and researchers who will be able to test and develop technologies in autonomy, robotics, personal mobility, smart homes and artificial intelligence (A.I.) in a real-world environment.
It is set to be built at a 175-acre site at the base of Mt. Fuji in Japan and has been envisioned to be a 'living laboratory'. Toyota also claimed that it will be a fully-connected ecosystem powered by hydrogen fuel cells.
“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. 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,” said Akio Toyoda, president of Toyota Motor Corporation.
The masterplan of the city will include three designations for street usage: slow and fast vehicles, personal mobility solutions and pedestrians, and park-like promenades for pedestrian use only. With it, Toyot claims that the three will form an organic grid pattern that will aid in testing autonomous vehicles. Neighborhood parks, along with recreational facilities will also be built in order to
In order for residents to get about, fully-autonomous, zero emission vehicles will be allowed on the main thoroughfares. There will also be self-driving Toyota e-Palettes that can deliver goods, as well as transport people to and from their desitnations.
As for the structures in the city, Toyota plans to use mostly wood with the aid of traditional Japanese wood-joinery, and robotic production methods. Meanwhile, the rooftops will be covered in photo-volatic panels to generate solar power (besides hydrogen fuel cells).
However, Toyota does not plan on building this city alone. Instead, the company is extending an open invitation to other commercial and academic partners that can collaborate on making the prototype city possible. From interested scientists, to full-fledge researches, Toyota is welcoming all those that want to take part in the ambitious project.
“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,” added Toyoda.
In the future, Toyota plans to populate the prototype city with their employees and their families, retired couples, retailers, scientists, and industry partners. The groundbreaking for the upcoming Woven City is set for early 2021.