Toyota reveals plans for ‘living lab’ smart city of the future

Toyota reveals plans for ‘living lab’ smart city of the future
Market news |
Automaker Toyota (Tokyo, Japan) has announced that it plans to build a prototype "city" of the future on a 175-acre site at the base of Mt. Fuji in Japan.
By Rich Pell

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Envisioned as a “living laboratory,” says the company, the “Woven City” will be a fully connected ecosystem powered by hydrogen fuel cells. It will 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.

“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,” says Akio Toyoda, president, Toyota Motor Corporation. “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 … maximizing its potential.”

The overall design 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, says the company, is planned to be fully sustainable, with buildings made mostly of wood to minimize the carbon footprint, using traditional Japanese wood joinery combined with robotic production methods. The rooftops will be covered in photovoltaic panels to generate solar power in addition to power generated by hydrogen fuel cells. The company says it also 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.

For transportation needs 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.

Neighborhood parks and a large central park for recreation, as well as a central plaza for social gatherings, are designed to bring the community together. The company says it plans to populate Woven City with Toyota Motor Corporation employees and their families, retired couples, retailers, visiting scientists, and industry partners. Initially the plan is to start with 2,000 people, adding more as the project evolves.

The company says it will extend an open invitation to collaborate with other commercial and academic partners and invite interested scientists and researchers from around the world to come work on their own projects in this one-of-a-kind, real-world incubator.

Groundbreaking for the site is planned for early 2021.

Toyota

Related articles:
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Sidewalk Labs to build ‘smart neighborhood’ in Toronto
Campus to become ‘living lab’ for the IoT
Keele and Siemens to create Europe’s largest ‘living’ energy lab

 

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