A ground-breaking ceremony – jichinsai – took place today (23 February) in Japan to mark the official start of construction work for Woven City, Toyota's prototype for a future, fully connected community.
Toyota Motor Corporation and Woven Planet Holdings launched the project just a year after its announcement, despite the limitations imposed by the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Woven City is being built adjacent to Toyota's Higashi-Fuji production site at the foot of Mount Fuji and will explore the potential of software-based mobility development projects in a working community environment.
Toyota president Akio Toyoda said: "The unwavering themes of the Woven City are 'human-centred', a 'living laboratory' and 'ever-evolving.' Together with the support of our project partners, we will take on the challenge of creating a future where people of diverse backgrounds are able to live happily."
Toyota announced its plan to build Woven City in January 2020 at CES in Las Vegas. The project will take a human-centred approach to developing a community that will explore how society can be improved by accelerating the cycle of technology and the development of new services.
The automaker said: "In Toyota's shift from automobile manufacturer to mobility company, Woven City will bring new technology to life in a real world environment across a wide range of areas, such as automated driving, personally mobility, robotics and artificial intelligence. It is expected to provide opportunities for businesses and researchers from around the world."
The community will have three types of street, interwoven with each other at ground level: one dedicated to automated driving, one to pedestrians and one to pedestrians using personal mobility vehicles. There will also be an underground road for goods transportation. The community will begin with around 360 residents, mainly senior citizens, families with young children and inventors. Eventually the population will increase to more than 2,000, including Toyota employees.
"The infrastructure is designed to create an environment where inventions with the potential to solve social issues can be created in a timely fashion," the automaker added.