Kurt Verlin
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Toyota Begins Construction of Smart City

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Toyota executives break ground in Woven City
Photo: Toyota

Toyota broke ground for “Woven City” on Tuesday this week. Woven City is a new smart city that will serve as a center for technological innovations focused primarily on artificial intelligence and robotics.

Woven City was first announced at last year’s CES in Las Vegas, and the Woven moniker has since grown into something far larger. As Toyota prepares to evolve from its chrysalis form into a fully-fledged mobility company, Woven City will serve as a “living laboratory” for the company to develop technologies in a real-life environment unlike anywhere else.

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The automaker says the smart city will have “three types of streets interwoven with each other on the ground level,” including a level dedicated to automated driving, another to pedestrians, and another to pedestrians using personal mobility vehicles. That’s on top of an underground level where goods will be hauled.

Located at an old vehicle yard near a former Toyota factory in Susono, Japan, the smart city will be powered exclusively by electricity from fuel cells and solar panels. At first, it will be home to just 360 people, including Toyota employees, but mainly senior citizens, inventors, and families with young children. Eventually, Woven City will expand to a population of 2,000 people.

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“The infrastructure of Woven City aims to create an environment where inventions with the potential to solve social issues are created on a timely basis,” Toyota says. The mobility company is also openly inviting academic and commercial partners, as well as scientists and researchers, to work on their projects in Susono.

Construction will start in March, but Toyota did not say when it expects to finish building Woven City. But given that it described the new smart city as “living” and “ever-evolving,” we wouldn’t be surprised if it was never finished in the conventional sense of the word.