Akihabara News (Tokyo) — A groundbreaking ceremony has been held at the recently-closed Higashi-Fuji automotive plant, marking the start of construction of the Toyota “Woven City” prototype smart city of the future.
This project was announced a year ago at CES Las Vegas, and is now getting underway in earnest.
The groundbreaking ceremony featured Toyota President Akio Toyoda, Shizuoka Governor Heita Kawakatsu, and Susono city Mayor Kenji Takamura.
The Woven City project aims to weave together advanced technology, autonomous vehicles, and infrastructure.
The defunct Higashi-Fuji plant served roles in the past that Toyoda described as constituting “a driving force for motorization in Japan, supporting people’s daily lives, and promoting a car culture.”
The new community will be home to 360 residents in its initial stage, including Toyota employees and their families, as well as senior citizens and scientists involved in the project. The health of these residents will be monitored by AI systems, and their lives will be made easier through the use of the latest advances in robotics.
Woven City will feature three types of roads: one for autonomous vehicles, one for personal vehicles, and a third pedestrian-only promenade. These streets will weave together to form an organic grid that will test autonomous vehicles in a real-world setting. The city layout is being planned by Danish architect Bjarke Ingels, known for his work on 2 World Trade Center in New York, which is now under construction.
Most buildings at Woven City will be built with traditional wood architecture to minimize its carbon footprint. The project will be powered by solar panels and hydrogen fuel cells.