There are times when we hear companies talk about the future and they leave it to us to envision what that means. And then there are times when they actually build the future. And that's exactly what Toyota is doing.
Onstage at CES this week, Toyota announced plans to build the "city of the future" at the base of Mount Fuji in Japan. The city will have everything Toyota believes the future holds, including smart homes, smart cars, and much more.
According to Reuters, Toyota is calling the futuristic city Woven City. The company told Reuters in an interview that it'll be a full-fledged, working city and not just a single city block. Toyota believes a full city is needed to really identify what the future holds.
And, yes, people will be living there. In fact, there will be 2,000 residents, including law enforcement and a fire department serving the city. There will also be retired people living there. Toyota plans to put researchers there as well. It chose the location because it's the site of a Toyota car factory that's closing down later this year.
So, what will Woven City have?
According to Toyota, it plans to power the entire city with hydrogen fuel cells. It'll also be alive with smart homes and autonomous cars cruising the streets.
Not surprisingly, artificial intelligence will play a major role in the city. Computer-generated intelligence will inform when lights go on, handle traffic, and much more. The city will also feature lights and electricity powered by renewable energy to reduce carbon emissions.
Needless to say, it's an ambitious project, and one that could cost quite a bit. But it's potentially feasible. That's because Toyota has its own housing division in Japan that has sold more than 100,000 homes across the country over the past 37 years. In other words, Toyota might be best known as an automaker, but in Japan, it's also heavily involved in housing.
Like any moon shot, there are challenges ahead. Toyota needs to get approvals for the development, and there's no guarantee it'll happen. It's also unclear when we can expect the first residents to move in. But, if nothing else, it's an exciting development that could change how we see the world.