Mirai tapped for satellite technology experiments

January 13th, 2016 by

Mirai Satellite Research Vehicle

Mirai Satellite Research Vehicle

For those that have been regular readers of the Toyota of Naperville Blog, the Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel cell vehicle is one of our favorite innovations. The ability to use an easily produced fuel that only emits a few drops of water as waste has the potential to set the standard for large scale production of alternative fuel vehicles in the future. Getting the necessary infrastructure in place is the biggest challenge to hydrogen-fueled vehicles becoming mainstream. In anticipation of that time, Toyota has shown off the Mirai Satellite Research Vehicle at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

Presentations given at this year’s Consumer Electronic Show as well as the NAIAS have revealed Toyota’s efforts to revolutionize the way vehicles will be able to communicate with one another as well as the rest of the environment around them. Many of the Toyota vehicles available at Toyota of Naperville already routinely send and receive information out to the cloud, whether it is through GPS navigation or the Entune App Suite. Toyota has recently partnered with U.S.-based Kymeta, the world leader in flat panel antenna technology.

“For several years, Toyota met with emerging companies around the world to investigate new technologies,” Shigeki Tomoyama, Senior Managing Officer of Toyota Motor Corporation said in a Toyota press release.  “We were very excited to learn about Kymeta, because their flat antennae technology could solve the challenge of vehicle-based satellite communications.”

Mirai Satellite Research Vehicle
Mirai Satellite Research Vehicle
Mirai Satellite Research Vehicle

Previously, sending and receiving large amounts of data through satellite communications required very large parabolic dishes. Obviously, mounting a heavy satellite dish on a vehicle isn’t going to be terribly practical. Kymeta has made a number of breakthroughs in software and liquid crystal hardware that shrinks these components from the size of a satellite dish to a relatively small flat panel. What could be accomplished once this kind of technology is ready for production is truly unknown. There is no tangible ceiling on the technology’s potential.

Kymeta has installed satellite panels on the roof of the Mirai Satellite Research Vehicle. In the process of finding out how this will help Toyota’s future model of future vehicle mobility, there are three benefits to the automotive industry the company has already identified.

  • Very large amounts of data can be sent to properly-equipped vehicles.
  • Blind spots in coverage can nearly be eliminated through global deployment and a standardization of technology.
  • Emergencies will be more easily managed through stable and secure communications.

If you would like to see what kind of technology is currently available with the Toyota fleet, contact a Toyota of Naperville sales professional today.

Posted in News