24 Woven City
For prototyping a fully autonomous world
Toyota wants to test—and deliver—the future. And it’s building a real-world incubator to do it: Woven City, a sustainably powered ecosystem where smart homes, AI, autonomous vehicles and robotics are the norm.
First announced in January, the project affords Toyota a platform to fast-track its most innovative R&D ideas without the regulatory hurdles or infrastructure limitations of an existing city. Instead, the Japanese auto manufacturer tapped Danish architecture firm Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) to transform a soon-to-be-shuttered car factory at the base of Mount Fuji into a futuristic development. The team is expected to break ground on the 175-acre (71-hectare) site in 2021.
The city’s initial 2,000 residents, a population that the company plans to increase over time, will include Toyota employees and their families, retail partners and retirees—all providing real-time usage data on forays into robotics, 3D printing and mobility. Scientists and researchers from across the world have been invited to test their own future-focused projects, too.
Smart homes will feature AI-equipped robots assisting with daily tasks, from checking on a resident’s health to emptying the trash. Internet- connected sensors integrated into the city’s infrastructure will link buildings, vehicles and residents. Streets will offer three user-specific pathways: one for high-speed vehicles, one for reduced-speed vehicles and one for pedestrians.
Woven City is also planned to be deeply sustainable. Teams will favor wood as a building material, rely on robotic production methods and cover rooftops in photovoltaic panels to harvest solar energy. Only autonomous and zero-emission vehicles will be allowed on main thoroughfares.
Toyota’s eco-friendly e-Palettes—the company’s modular concept vehicles—will offer ridesharing and deliveries, and also serve as mobile offices and shops.