Situated in a former car factory in Japan, Toyota’s city will be a “living laboratory to test and improve mobility, autonomy, connectivity, hydrogen-powered infrastructure, and industry collaboration.” The “prototype city of the future” will serve as a testing site for autonomous vehicles, innovative street design, smart house technology, new mobility products and robotics.
Breaking ground in 2021, the project will house up to two thousand people and aim towards achieving a carbon-neutral society with a balance between vehicles, people and nature, created, in fact, by a car company. The project is called Woven City as a reference to weaving together three different types of streets and pathways, each for a specific type of user, forming an organic grid pattern to help accelerate the testing of autonomy.
The vision includes a number of Toyota’s autonomous vehicles that would congregate in centrally located plazas in the city. Although there’s nothing new about car companies building fake city backdrops to test out their new vehicles, what Toyota is offering is an escalation of the concept — a real city with real people in a “living laboratory” to test not only cars but a whole new way of living.
Of course, Toyota doesn’t mention anything about the access to data, privacy or nondisclosure agreements that residents would probably have to sign before moving to Woven City. However, the company already owns the land where the city will be created, and the fully connected ecosystem of Woven City undoubtedly will develop a range of innovations for future urban living.