Toyota today unveiled a research vehicle equipped with satellite communications that can transmit large amounts of data through a flat-panel antenna technology, developed in partnership with Kymeta Corp.
“The antenna is made from meta materials that are lighter, smarter, more efficient, and have no moving parts,” said Nathan Kundtz, founder of Kymeta, at the 2016 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. “The antenna uses software to track a car via a satellite, and provides uninterrupted data delivery just like fiber cable hooked up to a home. It provides high density weather maps, HD and 3-D mapping, and infotainment.”
Kundtz said satellite communications are more stable and secure, especially in emergencies like natural disasters. He said it also offers broad coverage areas.
He said Toyota and Kymeta have been jointly researching the flat antennae since 2013, along with looking for ways to embed it in the vehicle and how to support satellite distribution of huge amounts of data to the vehicle.
The research vehicle is based on its Mirai fuel cell vehicle, which runs solely on hydrogen and only emits water. There is no release date for a Mirai equipped with a flat-panel antenna.