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The ‘smart city’ will feature autonomous vehicles, robots, hydrogen power and, of course, a sprinkling of AI solutions for residents to play with.

Less than four years after announcing plans to build a “smart city” near Mount Fuji in Japan, Toyota announced the city will welcome its first residents very soon.

Called the “Woven City,” it has been dubbed a “living laboratory” to experiment with new technologies like hydrogen power, autonomous vehicles, robots, and artificial intelligence (AI)

Projected to cost a total of £8 billion ($10.13 billion), the city is, according to Toyota, almost complete. According to the Express, the first residents are scheduled to move in by the end of this year to allow experts to gather data on the city’s mobility patterns.

Locals will reside in environmentally friendly “smart” homes constructed from wood, primarily powered by hydrogen, and equipped with solar panels. “Building a complete city from the ground up, even on a small scale like this, is a unique opportunity to develop future technologies,” Toyota president Akio Toyoda explained.

Under the plans, “Woven City” is divided into three zones: pedestrian-only areas, roads for autonomous vehicles, and routes for active travel options such as bicycles. To make their dream a reality, Toyota partnered with the international architecture firm Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG).

Woven City to get first guinea pig residents soon

BIG has been behind some remarkable projects, including VIA 57 West in New York, LEGO House in Denmark, and VM Houses in Copenhagen. Woven City will cover 7,620,849 feet squared (708,000 square meters) and is being built on the former site of Toyota’s Higashi-Fuji Plant, which closed four years ago.

Toyota’s “Woven City”will be a place for co-creation, for inventors and residents who share our value and passion for inventing something new “for others,” the company explains on its dedicated website to the project.

According to the company, it aims to evolve from an automobile company to a “mobility” company. The objective is to redefine “movement” from simply transporting people from point A to point B using automobiles, to also uplifting and enhancing people’s lives through providing efficient, practical, and enjoyable mobility for people, goods, information, and energy.

“‘Woven City’ features roads, plazas, stores, offices, and residences – resembling a real-life city where inventors and residents can co-create new ideas, products, and services,” Toyota explains.

Japan’s “smart city” in the shadow of Mount Fuji

They emphasize that Woven City’s comprehensive support will fast-track technology and service innovations.

“The various support provided by Woven City will accelerate the development of technology and service innovations that will redefine the future of mobility and lead to wellbeing for all,” they add.

Toyota’s Higashi-Fuji Plant, located in the Tohoku region of northeastern Japan, was replaced after being severely impacted by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Toyota announced in 2020 that the closed site would be transformed into “Woven City,” with groundbreaking taking place the following year.

Under the proposed plans, researchers and businesses from around the world will have the opportunity to work on projects related to personal mobility, driverless technology, artificial intelligence, and robotics.

The city where these developments will take place is named in honor of Sakichi Toyoda, the founder of Toyota. Toyoda originally invented an automatic loom to make the weaving process easier for his mother before his son created the industry giant we know today.

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Autor(en)/Author(s): Christopher McFadden

Quelle/Source: Interesting Engineering, 24.06.2024

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