Toyota has announced plans to build a ‘prototype’ city of the future on a 175-acre site in Japan.
Powered by hydrogen fuel cells, the Woven City will serve as a ‘living laboratory’ for technologies including autonomous vehicles (AVs), robotics, artificial intelligence (AI) and smart homes.
Across the city there will be three types of street: faster vehicles only; a mix of lower speed, personal mobility and pedestrians; and a park-like promenade for pedestrians only. Only fully-autonomous, zero-emission vehicles will be allowed on the main roads.
Rooftops of buildings will be covered with photovoltaic panels to generate solar power in addition to power generated by hydrogen fuel cells, and homes will be equipped with technologies such as robotics to assist with daily living. The homes will also use sensor-based AI to check occupants’ health, take care of basic needs and enhance daily life, the car maker said.
Initially, around 2,000 people – including Toyota employees and their families, retired couples, retailers, visiting scientists and industry partners – will live in Woven City and that number is expected to grow as the project evolves.
“We plan to build our city in the virtual world first, creating a digital twin that will allow us to test our theories before we build,” Akio Toyoda, president of Toyota Motor Corp, told CES in Las Vegas.
“This in turn will create a one-of-a-kind digital operating system for our city.”
Toyota is also inviting commercial and academic partners and interested scientists and researchers from around the world to work on their own projects in the real-world incubator.
“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,” Toyoda said.
Groundbreaking for the site is planned for early 2021.