Toyota’s Woven City to ‘incubate’ smart city tech

The Japanese carmaker wants to put a smart city under the shadow of Mount Fuji.
8 January 2020

Toyota’s latest project the Woven City. Source: Toyota

From Bosch’s mission to minimize the hackability of autonomous vehicles to IBM’s launch of a new blockchain app to trace the supply-chain of coffee beans, CES 2020 has showcased ambitious plans, hinting at how we can expect to tech to both drive and respond to social change in the coming years. 

Perhaps none of the announcements from Las Vegas have been more ambitious than Toyota’s, with the Japanese carmaker announcing it’s ready to build “a city of the future.”

The planned 70-hectare site at the foot of Mount Fuji, dubbed Woven City, will be powered by hydrogen fuel cells and will serve as a “living laboratory” for future technologies such as AI, robotics and self-driving vehicles.

Construction of Woven City is penned for next year and will house around 2,000 citizens— mostly Toyota employees to begin with.

Sustainability will underpin the smart city’s development, from building materials to renewable energy, while only fully-autonomous, zero-emission vehicles will be permitted to travel on the main streets. 

Meanwhile, Japanese wood joinery will be married with robotic production methods, and Toyota also plans to weave in the outdoors throughout the city with native vegetation and hydroponics farms.

Away from the streets, residents will be supported by the latest robotics development, including in-home robots. Homes will be furnished with sensor-based artificial intelligence (AI) to check occupants’ health, take care of basic needs and basically, enhance daily life. 

The firm says that almost every aspect of life in Woven city will be connected to the internet.

Commenting on the utopian vision, Toyota’s Chief Executive, Akio Toyoda, said; “I believe it is up to all of us, especially corporations like Toyota, to do our part to help make the world a better place. Woven City is one small but hopefully significant step towards fulfilling that promise.”

Toyoda added that the city would be open for collaboration from other businesses, adding that it would invite scientists and researchers to use the site as a “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,” he said.