CES has always been about one-upmanship among automotive OEMs. Who can show off the coolest, newest, tech-iest. Toyota has laid waste to the entire field of comers this year by announcing that it would build the biggest tech accessory of all time, an entire goddamn city! Toyota is calling its planned 70-hectare city at the base of Mt. Fuji “Woven City” and it will be powered entirely by hydrogen fuel cells and photo-voltaic solar.
This city is billed as a so-called living laboratory where researchers can test and develop autonomy, robotics, personal mobility, smart homes, and artificial intelligence in real world settings. The idea is to build a city of the future where everything is interconnected and talks to each other in a way that definitely won’t lead to a robot uprising.
“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 the company’s president, Akio Toyoda. “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 … maximising its potential.”
Toyoda continued, “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.”
The city streets will be split into three different types; the first will be for faster road cars, the second for a mix of low-speed transportation solutions like bicycles, personal mobility, and pedestrians, and the third will introduce promenades only accessible by your own two feet.
If you want a look at what your future city might be, here’s what Toyota says is the plan:
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 believes that encouraging human connection will be an equally important aspect of this experience.
Toyota plans to populate Woven City with Toyota Motor Corporation employees and their families, retired couples, retailers, visiting scientists, and industry partners. The plan is for 2000 people to start, adding more as the project evolves.
The city breaks ground in early 2021, so you’ll have to wait until the future to see what the future looks like.