Toyota Motor Corporation (Toyota) and Woven Planet Holdings, Inc. (Woven Planet), the Toyota Group company responsible for a wide range of mobility development projects anchored in software, held a ground-breaking ceremony (Jichinsai) recently for the construction of Woven City at the old vehicle yard adjacent to the former Higashi-Fuji Plant site of Toyota Motor East Japan, Inc. (TMEJ).
Along with the Governor of Shizuoka Prefecture HeitaKawakatsu, Mayor of Susono City Kenji Takamura and other guests representing the local community, the ceremony was attended by Toyota President Akio Toyoda, Woven Planet CEO James Kuffner, TMEJ President Kazuhiro Miyauchi and others involved in the project. Together, the leaders expressed their hopes for a safe and successful start to construction.
“The Woven City project has officially started,” said President Toyoda. “Taking action as one has decided is never an easy task. I must express my deepest gratitude to all who have provided their whole-hearted support and cooperation to the project through today. The unwavering themes of the Woven City are ‘human-centered,’ ‘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.”
TMEJ President Miyauchi added, “I am deeply grateful for having had our Higashi-Fuji Plant operate here for 53 years with the support of the local community. The knowledge and expertise we acquired from all of the people who worked at the plant must be carried on into the next chapter. With the conviction that Woven City will stand not on mere empty land but where the history of the Higashi-Fuji Plant lies, I will offer the greatest possible collaboration in the future.”
Toyota announced the construction of the Woven City in January at CES 2020 in Las Vegas, United States, to prepare for an era in which all ecosystems that support everyday life are connected with data. Woven City aims to continuously create advancements that will help better society by accelerating the cycle of technology and the development of services.
The project aims to demonstrate a human-centered approach to community development. As part of Toyota’s shift from an automobile manufacturer to a mobility company, Woven City will bring new technology to life in a real-world environment across a wide range of areas including automated driving, personal mobility, robotics, and Artificial Intelligence (AI). It is expected to provide a number of exciting opportunities for businesses and researchers around the world.
Woven City will have three types of streets, which will be interwoven with one another on the ground level; one dedicated to automated driving, one to pedestrians, and one to pedestrians with personal mobility vehicles. There will also be one underground road used to transport goods. The community will start with roughly 360 residents, mainly senior citizens, families with young children, and inventors, and will eventually have a population of more than 2,000 individuals including Toyota employees. The infrastructure of Woven City aims to create an environment where inventions with the potential to solve social issues are created on a timely basis.