Toyota Mirai prototype gains flat satellite antenna
Toyota has introduced a Mirai prototype outfitted with a new form of satellite antenna technology.
Rather than relying on traditional parabolic reflectors, the research vehicle takes advantage of Kymeta’s flat antennas. Liquid crystals and software management allows the satellite signal to be tracked without the need for mechanical components.
“We were very excited to learn about Kymeta, because their flat antennae technology could solve the challenge of vehicle-based satellite communications,” said Toyota senior managing officer Shigeki Tomoyama.
Many vehicles are already outfitted with simple satellite receivers for SiriusXM radio and other services, however Kymeta’s technology is said to support much higher data rates than conventional satellite technologies. Toyota suggests the flat antennae could enable broad coverage areas and global deployment of connected vehicles that share the same communications standards across national borders.
The Mirai trial appears to be in the early testing stages, though Toyota has committed to installing data communications modules in a wider range of vehicles. All major automakers are working to further develop vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communications, both of which could serve important roles as automobiles transition toward autonomous and semi-autonomous operation.
Despite the tests, it is unclear if Kymeta antenna technology will make its way to Toyota’s production vehicles in the near or distant future.