2016 Detroit Auto Show: Toyota Mirai research vehicle image
The largest Japanese company and the world’s leading automaker, Toyota, has decided to introduce during the North American International Auto Show a new research vehicle, based on the fuel cell Mirai.
Although the model was quietly introduced and looks rather restrained (as far as Mirai’s design goes), the vehicle sports a flat-panel satellite antenna from Kymeta and the prototype also features a bespoke interior with black leather seats, a rear seat entertainment system, as well as a wide array of other screens. The carmaker was actually rather secretive about the functionalities of the other displays but did say it was diligently working on new direction to take connected technologies and wants to later on equip additional cars with a Data Communication Module.
The partnership with Kymeta has to do with the company’s desire to explore the possibilities offered by satellite communications – Toyota says some of the benefits include the unrestricted transfer of “huge amounts” of data very fast. 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.
No word has perspired about the powertrain used in this Mirai research vehicle so we’re most likely dealing with the “regular” architecture that has the Mirai using fuel cells that transform hydrogen into electricity to power the electric motor – the only byproduct of this chemical process is water.