Originally published: 03/10/2020
The 2020 Consumer Electronics Show wrapped up earlier this year and while the event usually plays host to all kinds of gadgets, gizmos and the tech of the future, the most ambitious idea came from Japan’s largest automaker, Toyota.
Toyota, which recently rebranded itself as a “mobility” company with a focus on developing new technology to change the way people move. The company’s latest plan, announced at CES, is to build a 175-acre high-tech, sensor-laden metropolis from the ground up. On top of the idea itself being a larger than life project, it will be located at the bottom of Mount Fuji in Japan. The city of the future will be named Woven City and is expected to break ground in 2021.
As the company envisions it, buildings, vehicles, and humans will talk to each other through all kinds of sensors, and homes will be equipped with AI assistants that monitor everything from people’s trash to their health. To mitigate the city’s climate impact, buildings will be made of wood, which has a smaller carbon impact than concrete, and the entire ecosystem will be powered through hydrogen fuel. A lot of these new technologies are already in the works in various Toyota labs across the globe. Toyota plans to weave in the outdoors throughout the city, with native vegetation and hydroponics.
While there are many people out there doubting the success of the utopian city, Toyota seems to be optimistic as they describe the city as a “living laboratory” that will include full time residents and researchers who will test and develop technologies such as autonomy, robotics, personal mobility and smart homes, in a real-world environment.
“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.”
I think there is no denying that from a visual stand point the concept of Woven City is a stunning achievement. The idea of a city that can work to make a more sustainable world is a concept that anyone can get behind, but Woven City still raises a lot of question of uncertainty. While it would be exciting to vacation, live or visit the city of the future, the big question to Toyota is “when are we going to get a flying car already?” In the end, our advice would be to hold off on packing your bags because it is likely that the city of the future is not going to be ready anytime soon.