As if Sony showing off a car at this year's Consumer Electronics Show isn't weird enough, Toyota announces that it's building a city in Japan as a place to experiment with the technology of the future. The automaker calls the place Woven City as a nod to how the place entwines people, residences, and transportation.
The site will measure 175 acres (0.27 square miles or 0.71 square kilometers) and will sit at the base of Mt. Fuji. Toyota intends the place to be a living laboratory where people actually live and work. The company would then use this unique opportunity to experiment with "autonomy, robotics, personal mobility, smart homes, and artificial intelligence."
The city's design comes from the Danish architecture firm Bjarke Ingels Group. The company's impressive resume includes coming up with Google's Mountain View and London headquarters. For the Woven City, the buildings would use a mix of traditional Japanese wood joining techniques and robotic production. All of the roofs would have solar panels to generate additional power.
Another aspect of being an interwoven city comes from incorporating three types of streets. Faster vehicles would have their own roads. Low-speed autonomous transportation, like Toyota's e-Palette, and pedestrians would mix together on other avenues. Park-like paths would not be open to any machines.
Each residence would have cutting edge tech like sensors that would monitor inhabitants' health. Robotic assistants would also help make daily life easier.
Toyota initially wants 2,000 people to live in the Woven City. The automaker is inviting companies and academic institutions to apply to be part of the woven city. Toyota employees would also be able to live there. "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," Akio Toyoda, Toyota Motor Corporation President, said about the new endeavor.