Kurt Verlin
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Toyota to Build a ‘City of the Future’ Prototype under Mount Fuji

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Toyota's Woven City
Photo: Toyota

Toyota has announced at CES 2020 that it plans to build a “city of the future” prototype under Japan’s Mount Fuji. Named Woven City, it will span across 175 acres and rely entirely on solar and hydrogen fuel cell technology to power a fully connected ecosystem.

It won’t just be an empty city that serves as a tech demo for people to visit. Toyota says it will be home to full-time residents and researchers who will be able to use Woven City to test artificial intelligence, autonomous technologies, robotics, smart homes, and personal mobility devices in a real-world environment. So a bit like a large-scale lab — or as Toyota puts it, a “one-of-a-kind, real-world incubator.”

And it won’t be home to only Toyota scientists and engineers, either. The automaker is openly inviting academic and commercial partners as well as interested scientists and researchers from all over the globe to come work on their projects in Woven City.

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Plaza of Toyota's city of the future prototype, Woven City
Photo: Toyota

“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,” said Toyota president Akio Toyoda.

Designed by Danish architect Bjarke Ingels, the man behind 2 World Trade Center in New York City and Google’s Mountain View headquarters, the city of the future prototype has a three-tiered street layout that separates faster vehicles, slower vehicles including personal mobility, and pedestrians only.

To reduce the city’s carbon footprint, buildings will be made mainly out of wood and assembled using robotic production methods and traditional Japanese wood joinery. Rooftops will be covered in solar panels with additional power provided by hydrogen fuel cells, and hydroponics and plants will be woven all throughout the city.

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Courtyard in Toyota's city of the future prototype, Woven City
Photo: Toyota

Only zero-emissions, fully autonomous vehicles will be allowed on main thoroughfares, and residences will feature in-home robotic assistance including sensor-based AI that checks your health as well as “take care of basic needs and enhance daily life.”

Before you get too ahead of yourself, Toyota also believes human connection is an important aspect of the experience, which is why Woven City will also feature a large central park, a central plaza, and neighborhood parks “designed to bring the community together.”

It all certainly seems incredible in concept, but we’ll have to see how it plays out for real when Toyota’s city of the future prototype is fully realized. Groundbreaking for the site is planned for early 2021.