Toyota has announced a plan to build an all-new city at the foot of Mt Fuji in Japan - and there won’t be a Corolla or Camry in sight.
Woven City, as the new 175-acre locality will be known, is said to showcase the brand’s future thinking, while also allowing those who live and work there to workshop new ideas as they go. According to Toyota, it will be a sort of “living laboratory”.
The city is being designed by Danish architect Bjarke Ingels, who has experience building high-tech campuses like Google’s Mountain View HQ, and will be powered entirely by hydrogen fuel cells for its electricity.
Woven City will weave new ways of moving into a brand-new city landscape. Mr Ingels said the project will offer “connected, autonomous, emission-free and shared mobility solutions”.
“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,” he said.
Part of the plan is to include hydrogen fuel-cell technology, autonomous vehicles and new forms of personal mobility. There will even be a grid of roads and paths to suit different vehicles: a fast lane reserved for autonomous vehicles (such as the Toyota e-Palette), a slow lane for scooters/personal mobility devices and pedestrians, and another lane for pedestrians only.
Of course it will be connected, smart and future-ready, with an underground network for deliveries by robots, while inside the (mainly high-rise) homes there will be smart robots that will use artificial intelligence to monitor your health.
Toyota says it aims to break ground in 2021, with a planned starting population of 2000 residents comprising employees, their families, and retirees - which is an important point, given Japan’s ageing population.
“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 - maximising its potential,” said Akio Toyoda, president of Toyota Motor Corporation.
Toyota already has a broad footprint in its home country, with the company’s subsidiaries developing homes and appliances.