Toyota Mirai-based Research Vehicle bows in Detroit

Toyota has quietly unveiled a Mirai-based research vehicle at the North American International Auto Show.

Despite looking fairly ordinary, the car has been equipped with a flat-panel satellite antenna from Kymeta. The concept also has a custom interior with black leather seats, a rear seat entertainment system, and an assortment of other displays.

Toyota was coy on the purpose of the additional screens but noted the company is working to improve its connected technologies and has plans to install a Data Communication Module into additional vehicles. The automaker is also exploring the use of satellite communications in the future and has partnered with Kymeta to that end.

Putting satellite communications technology into cars might sound like overkill but Toyota notes several benefits including the ability to transfer “huge amounts” of data quickly. Satellite communication systems also have broad coverage areas and offer a reliable connection even in times of emergencies or natural disasters. The latter benefit is important in Japan as the country is still dealing with the psychological effects of the 2011 tsunami.

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