Toyota President Akio Toyoda, who appeared on the first episode of the re-launched Toyota Times Athletes Now on October 6, expressed his view that Woven City, which is being built in Susono City, Shizuoka Prefecture, is a “test track for a mobility company”.
During the program, anchor Kyonosuke Morita, who attended a briefing for residents on town development held by Susono City a day earlier, shared residents' expectations for Woven City and their concerns. At the briefing, Morita had heard residents mention that information about Toyota’s under-construction prototype city of the future was not fully forthcoming and that they did not know what Woven City was all about.
To that point, noting that the whole of Susono City “won’t become part of Woven City”, Akio emphasized the need for a test track in the form of a city by saying: “This test track is for ensuring safety in terms of three factors: the vehicles, the roads on which they’re being driven, and the people. We didn’t think that safe autonomous driving is achievable unless you make a human-centered city and test it there. That was the number one motivation behind deciding to build this Woven City.”
Furthermore, when Morita pointed out that test tracks are places where under-development vehicles are put through their paces and such information can’t be made public, Akio, noting that most of the program’s viewers were people related to Toyota, delved a little deeper into the topic.
“This is our own land and we’re using our own capital (for Woven City). We’re also utilizing the hometown tax system. We’re not using any of the tax money that the people of Susono have paid. What we are asking for is to be allowed to make the first basic unit within the closed environment of a test track. We have said that there are four roads in one unit (of land) of 150m x 150m, but details beyond that are related to product development,” he said, asking for understanding about what can be disclosed and what cannot.
Toyota plans to openly share the results of town development inside Woven City with all of Susono City and surrounding municipalities.
Starting with its October 6 airing, Toyota Times Athletes Now, which continuously supported Toyota athletes from around the world daily from 7 p.m. during the Tokyo 2020 Games, will from now on be broadcast regularly on Wednesdays from noon (Japan Standard Time) in Japanese, followed at a later day by a version subtitled in English.