Toyota, NTT forge smart city partnership
Japanese giants Toyota Motor Corporation and NTT Corporation have entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to form an alliance for the commercialization of smart city solutions.
The two companies will invest a total of JPY 200 billion ($1.8 billion) in each other to cement the smart city alliance.
Under the terms of the agreement, Toyota will take a 2.07% stake in Japan’s biggest telecoms company, while NTT will take a 0.9% stake in the automaker.
The two partners will develop a data platform which will compile and analyze information from homes, vehicles, and public institutions, which will be used to create new services focusing on transportation, health, and energy usage.
The smart city platform will be first implemented in the Higashi-Fuji area of Susono City, Shizuoka Prefecture (Woven City) and in the Shinagawa area in Minato-ku, Tokyo. The partners plans to introduce the platform in additional cities in the future.
“It is necessary not only for each company to engage in its own projects but also for both companies to work closely in jointly building and operating the ‘Smart City Platform’,” the companies said in a statement.
The partnership between Toyota and NTT will build on an existing collaboration under which the companies are jointly developing technology for connected cars.
NTT is already collaborating with cities including Las Vegas, Yokohama and Sapporo on collecting, interpreting and managing big data. The company aims to expand the service to other cities.
In January 2020, Toyota unveiled plans to build a prototype “city” of the future on a 175-acre site at the base of Mt. Fuji in Japan.
Called the Woven City, it will be a fully connected ecosystem powered by hydrogen fuel cells. Envisioned as a “living laboratory,” the Woven City will serve as a home to full-time residents and researchers who will be able to test and develop technologies such as robotics, personal mobility, smart homes and artificial intelligence in a real-world environment.
The masterplan of the city includes the designations for street usage into three types: for faster vehicles only, for a mix of lower speed, personal mobility and pedestrians, and for a park-like promenade for pedestrians only.
Toyota also highlighted that residences will be equipped with the latest in human support technologies, such as in-home robotics to assist with daily living. The homes will use sensor-based AI to check occupants’ health, take care of basic needs and enhance daily life.
To move residents through the city, only fully-autonomous vehicles will be allowed on the main roads.
Toyota plans to populate Woven City with Toyota Motor Corporation employees and their families, retired couples, retailers, visiting scientists, and industry partners. In an initial phase, the city will be home to nearly 2,000 people. The plan is for 2000 people to start,
The groundbreaking for the site is planned for early 2021.