[Via Satellite 01-12-2016] At the 2016 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), Toyota is displaying a research vehicle based on the Mirai fuel cell vehicle, which is equipped with satellite communications technology from Kymeta, a U.S.-based company developing flat-panel antenna technology.
Toyota is working to enhance its connected technologies, including a plan to install a data communication module into a broader range of its vehicles. The company is also considering using satellite communications in the future, including high capacity satellites that offer much higher data transfer rates than conventional satellite technologies.
While these satellites have historically required the use of 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 toward satellites. The lightweight, flat profile of the antenna also allows for seamless integration during vehicle assembly or easy aftermarket installation.
Since September 2013, Toyota and Kymeta have been jointly researching flat antennas, 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.
Mirai Creation Investment Limited Partnership, a fund where Toyota participates as an investor, provided an investment of $5 million to Kymeta to enhance future technology research and development. Toyota expects acceleration of the joint research with Kymeta through the investment.
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