Toyota Mirai With Satellite Communications On Display At 2016 NAIAS

1 year ago by Mark Kane 22

Toyota Motor Corporation Senior Managing Officer Shigeki Tomoyama discusses research and collaboration efforts with Kymeta during the North American International Auto Show in Detroit - Toyota Mirai

Toyota Motor Corporation Senior Managing Officer Shigeki Tomoyama discusses research and collaboration efforts with Kymeta during the North American International Auto Show in Detroit – Toyota Mirai

Toyota Mirai-based Research Vehicle with Satellite Communications Function

Toyota Mirai-based Research Vehicle with Satellite Communications Function

From the 2016 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, Toyota unveiled a special, research version of the Mirai hydrogen fuel cell car – equipped with satellite communications technology from Kymeta.

It’s not the first time the Japanese carmaker has looked into space – hydrogen is the most abundant element in the Universe Toyota once stated at one of these reveals, so the satellite communications is the logical next step…or something similar…right?

Satellite communications in cars is possible thanks to flat-panel antenna technology and, according to Toyota, key benefits are:

  • 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, and
  • more stable and secure communications, particularly in emergencies such as natural disasters.

“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.

Toyota Mirai-based Research Vehicle with Satellite Communications Function

Toyota Mirai-based Research Vehicle with Satellite Communications Function

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 towards 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 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 (US) 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.”

Shigeki Tomoyama, Senior Managing Officer of Toyota Motor Corporation said:

“For several years, Toyota met with emerging companies around the world to investigate new technologies. We were very excited to learn about Kymeta, because their flat antennae technology could solve the challenge of vehicle-based satellite communications.”

Dr. Nathan Kundtz, CEO of Kymeta commented:

“We’re excited to be working with Toyota on this next generation of vehicle connectivity. Kymeta is the first company to successfully demonstrate this type of technology, and we have over 8,000 miles of road testing with cars connected to satellites.”

Toyota Mirai-based Research Vehicle with Satellite Communications Function

Toyota Mirai-based Research Vehicle with Satellite Communications Function

Toyota Mirai-based Research Vehicle with Satellite Communications Function

Toyota Mirai-based Research Vehicle with Satellite Communications Function

Toyota Mirai-based Research Vehicle with Satellite Communications Function at 2016 NAIAS

Toyota Mirai-based Research Vehicle with Satellite Communications Function at 2016 NAIAS

Toyota Mirai-based Research Vehicle with Satellite Communications Function at 2016 NAIAS

Toyota Mirai-based Research Vehicle with Satellite Communications Function at 2016 NAIAS

Toyota Mirai-based Research Vehicle with Satellite Communications Function at 2016 NAIAS

Toyota Mirai-based Research Vehicle with Satellite Communications Function at 2016 NAIAS

Toyota Mirai-based Research Vehicle with Satellite Communications Function at 2016 NAIAS

Toyota Mirai-based Research Vehicle with Satellite Communications Function at 2016 NAIAS

Toyota Mirai-based Research Vehicle with Satellite Communications Function at 2016 NAIAS

Toyota Mirai-based Research Vehicle with Satellite Communications Function at 2016 NAIAS

Toyota Mirai-based Research Vehicle with Satellite Communications Function at 2016 NAIAS

Toyota Mirai-based Research Vehicle with Satellite Communications Function at 2016 NAIAS

Toyota Mirai-based Research Vehicle with Satellite Communications Function at 2016 NAIAS

Toyota Mirai-based Research Vehicle with Satellite Communications Function at 2016 NAIAS

Toyota Mirai-based Research Vehicle with Satellite Communications Function at 2016 NAIAS

Toyota Mirai-based Research Vehicle with Satellite Communications Function at 2016 NAIAS

Toyota Mirai-based Research Vehicle with Satellite Communications Function at 2016 NAIAS

Toyota Mirai-based Research Vehicle with Satellite Communications Function at 2016 NAIAS

Toyota Mirai-based Research Vehicle with Satellite Communications Function at 2016 NAIAS

Toyota Mirai-based Research Vehicle with Satellite Communications Function at 2016 NAIAS

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22 responses to "Toyota Mirai With Satellite Communications On Display At 2016 NAIAS"

  1. Speculawyer says:

    I hear that Darth Vader is filing suit against Toyota for stealing the StormTrooper helmet design for use as the design of the front of the Mirai.

    1. EVcarNut says:

      P.O.S. Carbon Credit….,any way you cut it……..

    2. HVACman says:

      LOL! and the Mirai will be about as hapless as the typical storm trooper – casting about, looking desperately for an Imperial fueling station, only to be shot down by a nimble BEV-powered x-wing fighter.

      From my perspective – this is putting lipstick on a pig….

  2. Chris O says:

    Houston, we have a problem…

    1. ffbj says:

      I’ll say.

    2. EVcarNut says:

      Yea! l o l P.0.S. Carbon Credit Loop Hole….

  3. liberty says:

    Let me get this straight. The mirai is tethered to not get further than 150 miles from a hydrogen station, which in all the world is in developed cellular range. Now they equip it with satelite equipment like it will be roving off road and far from civilization. I could see adding this to a land cruiser, but why a mirai? Is it just a bid to get more government money?

    1. Speculawyer says:

      What an EXCELLENT point. This is absolutely the WORST vehicle to bother with satellite antennas since it can’t get out of cell range without running out of fuel.

  4. Marcel says:

    It couldn’t be uglier…

    1. EVcarNut says:

      Mirai Would make a Good Moon/Inter Planitary Vehicle , Use it Once ((if doesn’t Blow up& throw it in the garbage)))Lots of Hydrogen stations 0n the moon & Planets…..This Is l m a o Technology…….

  5. offib says:

    What is this.

  6. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    Apparently someone is filling the water coolers at Toyota with Kool-aid, and the employees are drinking far too much.

    ::rolling eyes::

    1. Speculawyer says:

      I really think there is some groupthink going on at Toyota upper management.

  7. Goodbyegascar says:

    I would rather own a 1971 Plymouth Satellite

  8. Someone out there says:

    This is actually something I have been expecting from Tesla. Since Elon Musk has his own rocket company I suspect that instead of having to make deals with telecommunications companies all over the world for global 3G/4G coverage, Tesla would launch its own network of communication satellites for the always online stuff. There have been several rumors about this in the past and it does make sense.

    It would be quite expensive but on the other hand so is paying the phone bill for millions of connected cars. I’m guessing that the deals Tesla makes with telecoms are limited in what Tesla can do, for example no voice calls or text messages since the phone companies don’t want competition on their main source of revenue. With its own telecom network this would be a non-issue, Tesla would for example be able to do something like we saw in the VW BUDD-e presentation, be able to make voice or video calls with people at your door while you’re driving.

    1. jh says:

      +1 wouldn’t be surprised to see musk use space communication in how own satellite network. He has the knowhow and the means to make it cheaper than all the rest. Orbcom is already in to fleet management. It wouldn’t be a huge leap….

  9. James says:

    A good rule of thumb to determine if a car is “butt ugly” is when you place low profile tires and racing alloys on it, and it still looks like one serious hot mess!

  10. James says:

    Natural gas and hydrogen cars remind me of that huge disappointment I felt as a child when I got that “so-cool Cox tethered airplane” for my birthday. I was so psyched, I put the kit together at lightning speed only to run out into the back yard and suddenly realize the damn thing was on this little tether! – There I was pivoting in circles with this little airplane circling and circling…Basically it was fun for like – sixty seconds or so…What a bummer once I realized this thing that presented such promise was indeed a dud crippled by the fact it was a slave to it’s short, pathetic tether.

  11. Steven says:

    So, because of interstellar hydrogen, let’s use satcom for the telemetry?

    Just wait until the bean counters compare the price of the equipment and data to cellular.

  12. Mister G says:

    Toyota must have too much money to burn on this boondoggle.

  13. Priusmaniac says:

    That’s great for drones.