The Toyota Mirai research vehicle unveiled at the 2016 Detroit auto show offers more than just hydrogen power under the hood - consumers already know that. Satellite communication systems also have wide coverage areas and will remain a reliable communication possibility even if the vehicle finds itself at the site of a natural disaster - the latter seems to have a connection with the country's recuperation from the aftermath of the 2011 tsunami.
The antenna is not obtrusive or heavy.
No dish and no moving parts mean a lighter, more streamlined antenna that can be installed during vehicle assembly or as an aftermarket add-on without detracting from the vehicle's design or hindering aerodynamics. The company also boasts that it was the first major wireless carrier to launch a global SIM platform for cars.
There's no word on whether other automakers are departing from the 4G mindset to experiment with satellite connectivity, but Toyota doesn't expect to release the technology for another four or five years.
The carmaker showed-off a research vehicle at the NAIAS.
"So for many things this can be a much more cost effective pipe and deliver a tremendous amount of more data into the auto". With an exclusive right for development and testing of the on-car antenna, Toyota lent the company research vehicles for test driving.
If the flat-panel satellite technology arrives on future vehicles, it would herald a new era for communication systems in vehicles.
"For several years, Toyota met with emerging companies around the world to investigate new technologies", Shigeki Tomoyama, senior managing officer of Toyota Motor Corp., said in a statement. "Kymeta's satellite antennas remove the need for mechanical components by using software and liquid crystal technologies to electronically track and steer towards satellites", Toyota said.
Toyota is working to get data to and from your vehicle as fast as and as safely as possible and satellites might be the answer.
Toyota has introduced a Mirai prototype outfitted with a new form of satellite antenna technology. Over the course of the journey, the mTenna technology, embedded into the roof of the automobile, automatically acquired and tracked Intelsat Ku-band satellite signals while on the move.