Japanese startup plans futuristic city of robots

By Medha Basu

A model for cities of the future.

A Japanese firm is planning a city of robots north of Tokyo, with machines running medical, industrial and agricultural work.

The area will be at the cutting-edge of robotics research, developing robots to help with everyday living and putting them to actual use.

The development called “Cybernic City” will sit on 84,057 square meters of land in Tsukuba city. It will include a homes for the elderly, and a research centre, hospital, plaza and park.

The project is being led by a startup called Cyberdyne, a spin-off from the University of Tsukuba led by Professor Yoshiyuki Sankai.

“In the future, we would like to make this site into the world's state-of-the-art model for placing robots in society, where people can come and see the future," he said, according to The Asahi Shimbun.

“We could partner with commercial facilities to have robots ship products or they could help aging farmers grow their crops," he added.

The company wants to make “visible progress” in the project before the start of the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.

Cyberdyne has tentatively agreed to buy the piece of land from the Ibaraki Prefecture government for US$58.08 million.

Tsukuba city itself is no stranger to futuristic style developments. It is home to the Tsukuba Science City, one of the world’s largest sites planned for scientific discovery. Between its 60 national research institutes and two national universities, it takes up almost half of Japan’s government research budget.