Timber prototype will be built by robots
Toyota has hired Bjarke Ingels’ practice BIG to design a prototype “city of the future” built and staffed by robots. BIG is the architect behind Google’s Mountain View and London HQs, along with Thomas Heatherwick.
The city, planned for a 175-acre site at the base of Mount Fuji in Japan, will be tested in a computer simulation before construction which is slated to start early next year.
Toyota said it would invite its staff and their families, researchers, retired couples, retailers, visiting scientists and industry partners to populate the “living laboratory” which it has dubbed the “Woven City”.
Residents will participate in a “real-world incubator” to test and develop new technologies including a fully integrated digital operating system for infrastructure, with “people, buildings and vehicles all connected and communicating with each other through data and sensors”.
Using robotised production methods and traditional Japanese joinery, the sustainable scheme will be built mostly from wood and powered by a combination of roof-top solar panels and hydrogen fuel cells.
Emissions-producing vehicles will be banned, with residents shuttled around the streets in driverless Toyota e-Palette cars.
Toyota president Akio Toyoda said: “Building a complete city from the ground up, even on a small scale like this, is a unique opportunity to develop future technologies, including a digital operating system for the infrastructure. With people, buildings and vehicles all connected and communicating with each other through data and sensors, we will be able to test connected AI technology, in both the virtual and physical realms, maximising its potential.”
The project was announced at the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show (CES) this week.