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Toyota to build futuristic city in Japan powered by hydrogen fuel cells

By Ramla Soni

Woven City will begin with housing 2,000 residents in coming years and will have police, schools, fire and ambulance services

Toyota Motor Corp is planning to build a prototype “city of the future” at the base of Japan’s Mt Fuji. It will be powered by hydrogen fuel cells and will function as a laboratory for autonomous cars, smart homes, artificial intelligence and other technologies.

The plan for what will be called Woven City, which has been under discussion for a year, was revealed at the annual technology industry show, CES.

The Woven City idea is aimed at creating safer, cleaner, more fun cities and learning lessons that could be applied around the world, James Kuffner, chief executive officer for the Toyota Research Institute-Advanced Development, said.

It will have police, schools, fire and ambulance services, and could be home to a mix of Toyota employees, retirees and others.

The development, to be built on the site of a car factory that is planned to be closed by the end of 2020, will begin with housing 2,000 residents in coming years, and also serve as a home to researchers.

Costs of the project have not been disclosed and construction is scheduled to start next year.

Toyota said it had commissioned Danish architect Bjarke Ingels to design the community. Ingels’ firm designed the two World Trade Centre buildings in New York and technology giant Google’s offices in Silicon Valley and London.

Toyota also said it is open to partnerships with other companies seeking to use the project as a testing ground for technology.

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