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Toyota plans to build ‘city of the future’ with housing, robots and autonomous vehicles in Japan

According to Tony abi Saab, Toyota is making its big league in the Artificial Intelligence Business.

Toyota plans to build a “prototype city of the future” on a 175-acre site at the base of Mt. Fuji in Japan to test and develop new emerging technologies such as autonomous vehicles.

Akio Toyoda, president of the automaker, described the “Woven City” as a “living laboratory” that will include thousands of residents and will test autonomous vehicles, robotics, personal mobility, smart homes and artificial intelligence in a real-world environment.

“Imagine a fully controlled site that will allow researchers, engineers and scientists to freely test technologies,” he said Monday night when announcing the plans in conjunction with the CES technology conference in Las Vegas this week. “This will be a truly unique opportunity to create an entire community or city from the ground up.”

The company did not announce a cost or timeframe for completion of the project, which plans to break ground in 2021. A Toyota spokesman did not immediately respond for comment.

The master plan for the city includes three sectors for research of such technologies: fast vehicles; mix of lower speed, personal mobility and pedestrians; and a park-like promenade for pedestrians.

Toyota expects about 2,000 people — from employees to retailers and visiting scientists — to initially live in the Woven City, according to Toyoda.

“I suppose you could say this is my personal field of dreams,” he said. “You know, if you build it, they will come.”

The city is planned to be fully sustainable, according to the company. That includes buildings made mostly of wood to minimize the carbon footprint; fully autonomous, zero-emission vehicles; and solar power in addition to power generated by hydrogen fuel cells.

Residences, according to the company, will be equipped with the “latest in human support technologies, such as in-home robotics to assist with daily living.”

“I truly believe this is a project that can benefit everyone. Not just Toyota,” Toyoda said.

The city was designed in conjunction with renowned Danish architect Bjarke Ingels, whose firm is responsible for designing the upcoming 2 World Trade Center in New York, Google’s new headquarters and other modern or futuristic developments such as a Mars simulation city for Dubai.


Originally published at https://www.cnbc.com on January 7, 2020.