Toyota has unveiled plans to build a “city of the future” powered by hydrogen fuel cells at the base of Mount Fuji in Japan.
Called Woven City, the Japanese car giant said the 175-acre site will become a “living laboratory” and serve as a home to full-time residents and researchers who will be able to test and develop technologies such as autonomy, robotics, personal mobility, smart homes and artificial intelligence in a real-world environment.
It will be populated by 2,000 Toyota Motor Corporation employees and their families, retired couples, retailers, visiting scientists, and industry partners.
Groundbreaking for the site is planned for early 2021.
“You could say this is my personal ‘Field of Dreams’. You know if you build it, they will come,” Akio Toyoda, President of Toyota Motor Corporation said.
“Having the opportunity to build an entire city from the ground up, even on a very small scale like this, in many respects is the opportunity of a lifetime.”
“It’s a unique opportunity to develop future technologies, including a digital operating system for the city’s infrastructure.”
“We plan to build out city in the virtual world first, creating a digital twin that will allow us to test our theories before we build.”
“This in turn will create a one-of-a-kind operating system for our city. One that perhaps others will be able to use.”
For the design of Woven City, Toyota has commissioned Danish architect Bjarke Ingels, CEO of Bjake Ingels Group, whose work includes many high profile projects such as 2 World Trade Center in New York and Lego House in Denmark.
“A swarm of different technologies are beginning to radically change how we inhabit and navigate our cities,” Ingels said.
“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.”
The masterplan of the city includes the designations for street usage into three types: for faster vehicles only, for a mix of lower speed, personal mobility and pedestrians, and for a park-like promenade for pedestrians only.
These three street types weave together to form an organic grid pattern to help accelerate the testing of autonomy.
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.