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Toyota Is Building A “Prototype City Of The Future” In Japan

Toyota is one of the most well-known standard car brands here in America. However, this year the vehicle company made a surprise appearance and announcement at CES 2020, an annual convention in Las Vegas known for introducing the world to all the new tech innovations to come within the following year.

Toyota announced that they are currently working on a project that will convert a former 175 acre car factory site to a mini town that they’re describing as a “prototype city of the future.” According to Toyota’s official release, the “city” will be used to test vehicles, new smart home technologies, street designs, and other mobility products that will be tested by the full time residents that will be living in the city.  

The project is also being referred to as the “Woven City” by Toyota, which refers to the three different types of streets the company wants to “weave” throughout one another. 

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Toyota President and CEO Akio Toyoda (L) and Architect Bjarke Ingels speak at CES 2020

“‘Woven City’ is a reference to weaving together three different types of streets or pathways, each for a specific type of user. One street would be for faster vehicles only. The second would be a mix of lower-speed personal mobility vehicles, like bikes and scooters, as well as pedestrians. And the third would be a park-like promenade for pedestrians only. These three street types weave together to form an organic grid pattern to help accelerate the testing of autonomy,” according to Toyota

Up to 2,000 individuals will be able to live in this city and that’s exactly what Toyota wants to occur. Most of the residents will be Toyota employees accompanied by their families. The town itself is based at the bottom of Mount Fuji in Japan, and is being designed by Bjarke Ingels, a famous Danish architect who is known for his extremely modern and sustainable building designs. Ingles and Toyota both have claimed they plan for the project to begin production by the end of 2021. 

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In support of Ingles’ sustainable values, Toyota plans on using their hydrogen fuel cell technology as a means of powering the entire 175 acre city. Hydrogen fuel is one of the cleanest forms of energy that can be used as a major power source without emitting any harmful elements into the environment. Toyota has already begun implementing this sustainable technology into some of their larger transport vehicles as a means of reducing the harmful emissions that trucks typically pump into the air. For the hydrogen fuel cell trucks, the only thing they emit is water vapor, a concept Toyota wants to implement into their town. 

If Toyota can successfully create this small futuristic city and run it completely on hydrogen fuel cell technology, the possibilities for sustainable living in the future will be limitless. Real progress towards reversing the catastrophic effects of climate change can begin. 

The trucks that Toyota has been testing this technology on will be implemented into the Woven city, however, not all of them will be performing traditional truck duties. 

“Toyota envisions these [hydrogen fuel cell powered trucks] serving a variety of functions, from typical mobility services like ride-sharing and carpooling, to less-typical purposes like serving as mobile office and retail spaces, medical clinics, hotel rooms, and more. These vehicles would congregate in centrally located plazas within Toyota’s prototype city to sell goods or provide services,” according to representatives from Toyota.

Residents of Woven City will also have access to a plethora of smart home technologies and AI powered devices all meant to enhance daily life and the tasks that come with it. The goal is to perfect all the technology within the city so that when these products/vehicles are ready to be implemented into the real world, they’ll be functioning perfectly.

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What To Expect From CES 2020

CES stands for “Computer Electronics Show,” and every year technology lovers and business owners alike get together to hear from some of the world’s biggest tech names about what’s to come in the next year. Smart TVs took the spotlight at last year’s CES event, giving high definition entertainment a whole new look with the implementation of 8K quality and curved screen technology. So what does CES 2020 have in store for the world’s digital future? 

CES: Unveiled” was an event that took place the night before the actual show, in which reporters were able to come and get a first glimpse at all the new technology being introduced. This way they could gauge what gadgets, software, and trends would be the most talked about before the massive crowds flood the Las Vegas arena the following day. Remember, not all gadgets or concepts are released to the general public after CES, as some of the exhibits are meant to show technology lovers what some companies are striving to perfect in the future. 

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First up, Samsung wanted to keep riding the TV high that came from last year’s CES event, so they announced their new Sero TV. Sero TV was made with the mobile user in mind, as it literally turns to be vertical from traditional landscape mode when you hit a button. The orientation-changing television is meant to make mirroring from your phone much easier, and in this new age where a lot of online video content is modified to adjust to vertical mobile screens, this television wants to take that to the next level. 

Kohler, an appliance company, partnered with Amazon to bring the fantasy of a “smart home” even more to life with Alexa-powered showers. The two companies plan on releasing a shower head with Alexa enabled speaker technology for all of us who love to listen to music in the shower. Additionally, Kohler intends on releasing a lot more bathroom tech throughout 2020, including a new “intelligent” toilet system. 

CES tends to always have a robotic energy about it, quite literally. Every year new types of robo-friends are brought to the CES floor and this year will be no different. This year, CES will be introducing a bread-making robot, Sony’s Aibo Dog, and Buddy, the cute companion robot. Companion robots, and those that are meant to perform just one human task, such as bread making, are fairly common for this event. A cat robot, however, is new. 

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Startup company Elephant Robotics is developing a new robotic feline friend that they’re calling MarsCat. According to reports from CES: Unveiled, the “bionic feline can walk, stretch, play with toys, avoid obstacles and bite its nails. It can also recognize human faces and knows 20 commands and phrases, including ‘sit’ and ‘come here.’”

Segway has developed a new line of single-person transport systems called “Segway S-Pods.” The S-Pod is an electric pod meant for indoor travelling and can accelerate up to 24 miles per hour. Users control the speed and direction with a single knob on the arm rest of the pod. 

Colgate and Oral-B, two of the country’s top dental product providers, wanted to get a piece of the CES action this year, so they both announced their versions of “dental tech innovation.” The Oral-B iO electric toothbrush is meant to work with an app on your phone to tell you when you’re brushing your teeth too hard or too softly. The app also ensures that you’re brushing for a full two minutes, and are covering as much of your mouth’s surface area as possible. 

Colgate, on the other hand, is developing their own electric toothbrush that can detect any sort of “biofilm” build up in the gums. Additionally, it “notifies users when they need to brush longer in one area of their mouth. A light ring around the toothbrush will turn blue when buildup has been found. A white light displays when teeth are clean,” according to reports.

For the rest of what was announced during the CES: Unveiled event, click here. Media outlets will be posting all week about what new and exciting innovations come out of CES this year.