Toyota recently announced at the 2016 North American International Auto Show in Detroit that they were using a satellite research vehicle based on the Mirai fuel cell car in order to investigate the uses of implementing satellite technology across production vehicles. This new research could give Toyota vehicles the ability to communicate with one another via satellite, and the brand is meeting with various upcoming companies around the world that could assist them in the pursuit of this feature.
The Mirai-based car in Detroit, for example, utilizes flat antennae technology from emerging company Kymeta. These “flat antennae” are different from traditional satellite tech such as the recognizable “dish,” instead using liquid crystal and software that actively detects and tracks satellite signals. Potential uses for satellite technology in vehicles includes distributing vehicle data, providing stable connections to emergency contacts, and allowing vehicles to communicate with one another.
The Mirai-based satellite research vehicle is only the first prototype of an ongoing relationship between Toyota and Kymeta. Prior to the partnership, Kymeta has already managed to get 8,000 miles of road testing with satellite-equipped vehicles, and Toyota has invested $5 million in the emerging brand to encourage further technology research and development.