Toyota plans to build ‘city of the future’ in Japan

The “Woven City” will include thousands of residents and will test autonomous vehicles, robotics, personal mobility, smart homes and AI

Toyota plans to build a “prototype city of the future” on a 175-acre site at the base of Mt. Fuji in Japan to test and develop new emerging technologies such as autonomous vehicles. As described by Akio Toyoda, president of the automaker, the “Woven City” would represent a “living laboratory” that will include thousands of residents and will test autonomous vehicles, robotics, personal mobility, smart homes and artificial intelligence in a real-world environment.

“Imagine a fully controlled site that will allow researchers, engineers and scientists to freely test technologies,” he said Monday night when announcing the plans in conjunction with the CES technology conference in Las Vegas this week. “This will be a truly unique opportunity to create an entire community or city from the ground up.”

The company did not announce a cost or timeframe for completion of the project, which plans to break ground in 2021. The master plan for the city, however, includes three sectors for research of such technologies: fast vehicles; mix of lower speed, personal mobility and pedestrians; and a park-like promenade for pedestrians. Toyota also expects about 2,000 people – from employees to retailers and visiting scientists – to initially live in the Woven City.

“I suppose you could say this is my personal field of dreams,” Toyoda said. “You know, if you build it, they will come.”

 The city is planned to be fully sustainable, according to the company. That includes buildings made mostly of wood to minimize the carbon footprint; fully autonomous, zero-emission vehicles; and solar power in addition to power generated by hydrogen fuel cells.

“I truly believe this is a project that can benefit everyone. Not just Toyota,” Toyoda added.

The city was designed in conjunction with renowned Danish architect Bjarke Ingels, whose firm is responsible for designing the upcoming 2 World Trade Center in New York, Google’s new headquarters and other modern or futuristic developments such as a Mars simulation city for Dubai.

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