Want a glimpse of what the city of the future might look like? You might find some clues if you take a peek at the Toyota city of the future which the company started building this month.
The city, which Toyota has dubbed the “Woven City,” is sited at the base of Japan’s Mount Fuji, about 62 miles from Tokyo.
It has been created as a testing ground for a range of technologies like robotics, smart homes, and artificial intelligence to see how they might impact and shape 21st century life.
The initial residents will be 360 inventors, senior citizens, and families with young children who will move into the city within five years. Eventually, the city will host around 2000 residents and act as a showcase for Toyota and its technologies.
So what will the city look like and what benefits will the residents have in living there?
- Residents will live in homes outfitted with in-home robotics technology as well as sensor-based artificial intelligence to monitor their health and take care of their basic needs.
- The city will feature multiple parks and a large central plaza for social gatherings.
- There will also be one underground road used for transporting goods.
- A fleet of Toyota’s self-driving electric vehicles, called e-Palettes, will be used for transportation, deliveries, and mobile retail throughout the city.
- Buildings will be made mostly of wood to minimise the carbon footprint.
- Rooftops are slated to be covered in photo-voltaic panels to generate solar power and hydrogen fuel cell power.
- Nature will be integrated throughout the city with native vegetation and hydroponics, a method of growing plants without soil.
The city has been designed by Danish architect, Bjarke Ingels, whose portfolio includes 2 World Trade Center in New York City and Google’s California and London headquarters.
Toyota isn’t the first Japanese enterprise to embark on a smart city project. In 2014 Panasonic opened a smart city in Japan’s Kanagawa Prefecture called the Fujisawa Sustainable Smart Town