At the Detroit Auto Show, Toyota is showing a Mirai equipped with satellite connections by Kymeta.
Toyota recently announced it plans to install a Data Communication Module into a broader range of its vehicles. They also may use satellite communications in the future, including high capacity satellites that offer much higher data transfer rates than conventional satellite technologies.
Although some satellite communications require a “dish” antenna on the ground, Kymeta’s satellite antennas remove the need for mechanical components by using software and liquid crystal technologies to electronically track and steer towards satellites. The lightweight, flat profile of the antenna also allows for seamless integration during vehicle assembly or easy aftermarket installation.
The Kymeta news release that satellite communications offer several key benefits to meet automotive needs:
- The distribution of huge amounts of data to a vehicle.
- Broad coverage areas and the global deployment of connected vehicles that share common standards across national borders.
- More stable and secure communications, particularly in emergencies such as natural disasters.
Since September 2013, Toyota and Kymeta have been jointly researching flat antennae, embedded in the car, to support satellite distribution of huge amounts of data to a vehicle. With an exclusive right for development and testing of the on-car antenna, Toyota lent the company research vehicles for test driving. The Mirai displayed at NAIAS represents the progress of these efforts.
Mirai Creation Investment Limited Partnership, a fund where Toyota participates as an investor, provided an investment of 5 million dollars U.S. to Kymeta this month to enhance future technology research and development. Toyota expects acceleration of the joint research with Kymeta through the investment.
Toyota continues to work to accelerate connected car development and introduction including use of satellite communications, to offer customers ever-better car experience.