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Toyota Working on the Smartest City Yet, Built From Scratch

Checking in with Toyota's plans for an interconnected smart "city of the future" means considering how their approach might differ from other attempts at similar projects.
November 8, 2020, 11am PST | Lee Flannery | @leecflannery
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Toyota Future City

Corporate interest in smart city technology has brought numerous concepts and potential projects into the public spotlight in recent years with a notable lack of success in implementing new technologies in a robust way. Where others (most notably, Sidewalk Labs) have failed, Toyota has big plans to create a new, interconnected smart city, a "city of the future" to stand as a proof of concept for such innovations as autonomous vehicles and smart houses. 

"The 175-acre Woven City project, to sit at the base of Mt. Fuji, would house some 2,000 residents and will be outfitted with connected infrastructure, clean buildings and artificial intelligence (AI)," writes Jason Plautz on the ambitious scope of the project. Some onlookers think that Toyota could have more success than other corporations who have spearheaded smart city development, in part due to the lessened regulatory requirement involved in building a city from scratch. 

Public concern has put a damper on smart city development projects in the past. Alphabet's Sidewalk Labs planned a development on the waterfront of Toronto that sought to "showcase everything from mass timber buildings to adaptive pavement that would accommodate all forms of mobility," but the "project was dogged with concerns about how the company would store and protect data collected from residents," Plautz reflects. 

After Toyota's January announcement of plans for the spawning of the Woven City, very few details about the project have been revealed, says Plautz. Nearly a year later, ears are perked for more information about the viability of the project and its implications for smart city technology in other cities worldwide.

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Published on Monday, October 19, 2020 in Smart Cities Dive
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