An image of how Toyota's smart city will look Photo: Toyota Motor Corp
tech

Toyota begins building smart city near Mt Fuji

37 Comments

The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.

© KYODO

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

37 Comments
Login to comment

Hmmm, exactly how smart is it to be building at the foot of an active volcano?

20 ( +24 / -4 )

Where every move you make and every step you take will be monitored and recorded.

9 ( +16 / -7 )

Good on Toyota.

I completely support any efforts to reduce the amount of fossil fuels burned. But I'd still like to see some sort of generally agreed to method of life cycle costing which might provide a better estimate showing how effective new ways of producing and using energy could be.

Keep on developing alternatives to burning so much oil and gas, and make conservation a much higher priority than it is now.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

I completely support any efforts to reduce the amount of fossil fuels burned. But I'd still like to see some sort of generally agreed to method of life cycle costing

I completely agree. However, the project is off to a bad start if it's going to be build on farmland, or worse, forested/natural land.

5 ( +10 / -5 )

However, the project is off to a bad start if it's going to be build on farmland, or worse, forested/natural land.

I understand your concern, but there isn’t much arable land at the base of Fuji. Around the Susono/Gotemba area, there are only small patches of farmable land where locals grow tea or rice for small-scale production. The rest is gravel and rocks on steep hills. Toyota has their main test track, and the army, their artillery range at the base of Fuji for that very reason. It’s not suitable for agriculture or urbanization.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

I understood before that the project would be build on a land already owner by Toyota. Some kind of site rehabilitation. To be confirmed.

But living in a robot city is nothing pleasant at all. The use of human mind and thinking will be decreasing, and the human race going toward an automated behavior where everything will be forecasted

2 ( +5 / -3 )

I am wandering if some of you have actually read the article in it's short entirety or maybe did not comprehend it for some reason, as it says and I quote "the so-called Woven City to be built at the 70.8-hectare former Toyota factory site in Susono, Shizuoka Prefecture" Which if I am not mistaken is not farm nor forested land...

13 ( +14 / -1 )

The buildings will mostly be made of wood to minimize the carbon footprint, and the homes will use sensor-based AI to check the occupants' health, it said.

Being that the occupants will be Toyota employees, there is no way such sensors could be used to intrude on their privacy, could it?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

That's exactly what you need in a declining population: another city.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

I checked Toyota's PR and it stated, “using traditional Japanese wood joinery." So some of this project reflects a certain amount of nationalistic pride, rather than being just about science, technology and efficiency. There's a reason modern joinery superseded the old types - because it's better. It's called evolution.

And nary a mention made of the buildings' thermal performance, which should be a priority, given the tendency of homes here to leak energy like sieves, becoming freezing inside in winter, boiling hot in summer and gobbling up unnecessary amounts of energy.

Other Japanese "smart cities" have been criticized for little more than commercial showcases for selling electricity-consuming Japanese gadgets. This appears little different.

6 ( +11 / -5 )

Now that is a smart move by putting at the foot of an active volcano that is possibly one big earthquake away from blowing the manta and its top. Nice..Guess the AI will be asking the humans who put them there why not just put them on the cliff and ask them to jump.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

the homes will use sensor-based AI to check the occupants' health

No thanks.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

exactly how smart is it to be building at the foot of an active volcano?

Tokyo?

1 ( +4 / -3 )

So smart technology and carbon footprints are a big part of this futuristic city, but the irony is smart technology has a terrible effect , look at the large hole being dug in the middle of Australia to get the rare earth and other minerals, all that heavy machinery uses oil to operate, and the there is a horrible scar on the earth when the mine is no longer serviceable.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

The term AI is just misused in Japan. Even the most basic scripts or programing are being presented as AI here. There is no way that even Toyota would be able to pull off something on such scale.

What I'd believe more is that it'll be full of gadgets with some proprietary API, which will just cease to work after few years (i'm looking at you, SHARP).

5 ( +6 / -1 )

There was a good interview with Akio Toyoda (President of Toyota) last night, where he was saying the the lockdown meant they had many online meetings to brainstorm and hammer out ideas this year, kickstarting the project.

The land is private, so they will be largely unregulated and free to implement their plans. All ideas were welcome and they genuinely wanted to address and somehow incorporate all the concerns that the world is facing today. They wanted to mix old people among the childcare facilities, and bring in retired scientists to keep the experiment alive and bubbling.

The NHK (?) interviewer brightened up and asked if there might be a place for him to retire there. AkioToyoda did a double-take and reminded him that it was only being built to house some 360 chosen people.

Many such idealistic communities have been built, and many have failed. It'll be interesting to see what they learn. (With luck the place is on a ridge and the lava from any eruption of Mt Fuji will flow either side.)

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I just want to know how they got 「ウーブン」from "Woven".

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Forgot to mention that Mr Toyoda said that there will be a farm section, that all food grown on-site will be consumed there, and all waste will be recycled. The autonomous vehicles acting as shops/stores did look a bit weird, though.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Desert

Dormant, not active.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Active, not dormant. Hasn’t erupted in 300 years, but is still cooking inside. Active.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Someday this place is going to be a great haikyo destination.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I checked Toyota's PR and it stated, “using traditional Japanese wood joinery." So some of this project reflects a certain amount of nationalistic pride, rather than being just about science, technology and efficiency. There's a reason modern joinery superseded the old types - because it's better. It's called evolution.

I am no expert on joinery, but maybe it depends on how you define better. Could it be that modern methods are cheaper or require less skill? Not necessarily less effective joints...

2 ( +2 / -0 )

There is going to be public money going into this, but I hope it is not too much relative to what we can learn from what they are doing.

My take on this is that a place with 360 people is not a "city". If its only a few hundred meters long, it's going to be walkable without needing "autonomous vehicles". The other reason I mention this is as we saw again with the attempt to combine Osaka-Shi and Osaka-Fu, lots of Japanese actually care whether their place is a "shi" (city), a "machi" or "cho" (town) or a "mura" (village). Japan has twelve "mura" with populations of over 10,000 people. Nowhere you would sensibly call a "village" in English has that many people. The most heavily populated "mura" is in Yomitan in Okinawa and has 40,000 people! Conversely, there are three "shi", all on Hokkaido, with fewer than 10,000 people, one of which is Yubari, the poster child for rural depopulation in Japan.

For those interested in planned communities, there was a really good documentary on NHK recently about how tsunami-hit Higashi-Matsushima in Tohoku relocated their community away from the waterfront to a site inland. The thorny issue of how much was spent was not raised, but the process and the result were impressive.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

wish they went with a Japanese architect.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

JeffLee,

My house was built using traditional Japanese joinery because my architect (trained in the US, Finland, Uganda, and Japan) believes it's better. It's definitely not cheaper or quicker to use, however.

nandakandamanda

Almost all houses are built on private property and are definitely not largely unregulated. Perhaps Mr Toyoda misspoke.

This looks less like a city and more like a place to experiment with and experience new technologies. With only Toyota employees living there it could just as easily be called Toyota Research Center Susono.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Just sounds like lots of apps, devices, WiFi, monitors, panels, sensors, and other fancy electronics, gizmos, and gadgetry that consume electricity. Sure, they've got solar and hydro-oxy power, but thats still a pile of radiation being emitted from all that tech. I wouldn't want to work there and stare at a screen all day.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

JeffLeeToday  08:39 am JST

I checked Toyota's PR and it stated, “using traditional Japanese wood joinery." So some of this project reflects a certain amount of nationalistic pride, rather than being just about science, technology and efficiency. There's a reason modern joinery superseded the old types - because it's better. It's called evolution.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with using traditional joinery techniques, and it takes nothing away from the 'smart city' concept. This really sounds like 'scraping the bottom of the barrel' criticism.

And nary a mention made of the buildings' thermal performance, which should be a priority, given the tendency of homes here to leak energy like sieves, becoming freezing inside in winter, boiling hot in summer and gobbling up unnecessary amounts of energy.

This is just a short article to announce the start of construction, it's very light on details but I'm sure if you did some research you'd find the data you are after. Just because it's not included in this article doesn't mean it doesn't exist, or they don't think it's a priority.

Other Japanese "smart cities" have been criticized for little more than commercial showcases for selling electricity-consuming Japanese gadgets. This appears little different.

I don't know what other cities you're referring to, but if your unfounded criticism of this one is anything to go by, then the other cities mustn't be anywhere near as bad as you make them out to be.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Have nothing against cutting edge tech, BUT i really miss the SIMPLE life my father & grandpa lived and enjoyed, I really looks sweet and simple.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

It won't be a real city. In name only. A city needs a certain political structure agreed by the central government. Population size has nothing to do with it. I live in Tatsuno City, Hyogo with a pop of 80,000. It's also more countryside, farming and seaside than what is a more normal city. We live in one of the greenest cities in Japan.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Perhaps they should have used the city called Toyota or built this "New City" in Toyota city in Aichi prefecture.

Toyota gets huge subsidies from the govt for development and research so you can probably guess where the money will come from to build this new village.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

All your very old and reconstructed temples and shrines use traditional joinery. Fabulous work but time consuming. Wonderful for earthquakes. Bad in fires.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Hmmm, exactly how smart is it to be building at the foot of an active volcano?

Smart if you use it for geothermal energy!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

How incredibly boring

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Point taken. Fuji is active but has been dormant for 300 years.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The buildings will mostly be made of wood to minimize the carbon footprint, and the homes will use sensor-based AI to check the occupants' health, it said.

Toyota's housebuilding division Toyota Home is actually known for building steel-frame houses which are very strong against earthquakes and can have car-showroom levels of open plan designs with no internal walls. They also do massive offsite prefabbing, not a bad thing, to produce rooms that are simply lifted in and bolted together onsite. So I wonder what "mostly made of wood" means here. Maybe its engineered wood, like glu-lam, as a steel replacement or maybe it just means the bits not made of steel are made of wood as an SDGs-friendly bit of PR blurb.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

building a city with homes made of wood at the foot of an active volcano would only create more ASH, their goes the carbon footprint along with the hand picked HUMANOIDS they will be creating with AI!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I applaud them for taking this on. Of course It won't be just traditional post & beam construction ( 在来工法) as used in individual houses, but will hopefully incorporate the essence of it with innovation while still using wood. As a powerful Japanese company, Toyota's approach to the future seems to me much better than the haphazard approach of Masayoshi Son.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites