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Recapping Toyota’s Big Mobility Announcements at the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show

Posted at Fri, Jan 17, 2020 2:15 PM

At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Toyota revealed their initiative to improve and accelerate the urban development landscape. While this project might sound daunting, Toyota’s showcase has revealed that it is both possible and within reach. Named “Woven City”, this project isn’t actually just a concept – it is about to become a reality as an urban prototype smart city that is to be constructed in Japan starting in 2021. A huge part of the Woven City project are advancements and innovations in the area of mobility technologies, some of which we here at Westbury Toyota have gone over in the past. We’re more than happy to recap them now to show you how they will be an integral part of Woven City.

The How and the Why of Woven City

Woven City will be built at the base of Japan’s Mount Fuji, encompassing an area of 175 acres. It will be a joint project between Toyota and the Danish architectural firm, BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group. As Nargess Banks of Forbes explains, Woven City is meant to be a living, functioning laboratory that will be powered by hydrogen fuel cells and possess a fully functioning, connected ecosystem. The city will be a testing ground for innovative solutions for existing urban issues such as housing shortages, congestion, and pollution. Woven City is meant to be fully sustainable with most structures made of wood which, in conjunction with fully robotic production methods, will drastically reduce the city’s carbon footprint. All rooftops will be covered in photo-voltaic panels to generate solar power, and the intent is to seamlessly blend nature with an urban setting through use of hydroponics and careful curation of native vegetation.

To aid in this research, venture capital firm Toyota AI put forth a global call to action at CES 2020 to both discover and fund start-ups that are in the early stages of development and that focus on robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), mobility, autonomy, and data. In particular, Toyota AI has a keen eye out for any project that could provide solutions to some of the aforementioned issues surrounding urban living:

  • Increasing efficiency in home and building construction.
  • Making improvements in accessibility and mobility for everyone.
  • Assisting the people who need it in the area of personal care and everyday tasks.
  • Using electric and shared mobility services to combat pollution and congestion.

Toyota’s Mobility Solutions

The Woven City display shown at CES 2020 included some impressive mobility products and solutions, including the following:

  • HSR – This is a robot meant to support basic human needs and utilizes AI tech and automated functionality to learn its surroundings. It is designed to respond to simple vocal cues, increasing its functionality.
  • Walking Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) – There are three different types of BEVs: Standing, sitting, and wheelchair-link, and all three are designed to travel along pedestrian pathways in order to allow those with mobility issues to easily commute.
  • e-Palette and Micro-Palette – The e-Palettes are BEVs designed for Mobility as a Service (MaaS) uses. They are fully automated and have an abundance of configuration options, which makes them desirable for a number of different uses. The micro-palettes are delivery robots that are fully autonomous and meant for product and package handling and delivery services.
  • LQ – The LQ is a battery electric advanced technology concept vehicle that has automated driving capabilities. As the writers of the Toyota Pressroom point out, the LQ also has an AI system called “Yui” that learns from driver patterns and then provides a driving experience based on those individual preferences.

The Future of Urban Living

As you can clearly see, Woven City is meant to set a precedent in regard to the direction society could and should be taking when it comes to the problems related to urban dwelling and development. It is not only about living and developing with a green state of mind – it is also about ensuring that everyone, regardless of mobility capabilities, is easily able to move throughout the city and carry out day-to-day tasks without having to struggle. Toyota has long been a proponent of solving mobility and environmental issues, and with the reveal of Woven City at CES 2020, it is clear that these advancements are a strong focus of the company moving forward.

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