Another day at the North American International Auto Show, another cool thing to show. Toyota Motor Corp showed off a conceptual “connected” vehicle, which uses satellites for communication.
The concept car was developed based on the Toyota Mirai FCV, a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle that was one of the first to be available for sale commercially.
Currently, cars that are connected exchange data using a wireless network, like the one used for cellphone communications. This concept, dubbed the “Kymeta Concept,” has a satellite connection instead of a network.
This allows for the car to transmit a larger amount of data to anywhere else quickly. This improvement in speed and data transfer would be useful for transmitting detailed map data, which is critical for autonomous driving, as the vehicle would need to be able to process directions and information quickly.
When you think of satellites, you may think of the large, bowl-shaped dishes attached to antennas. These are called parabolic antennas, and are the main choice for satellite communications.
Obviously, with their size and shape, it would be difficult to mount on a vehicle. Toyota chose to use a small planar antenna instead, developed with Kymeta, the concept’s namesake. It is small and light enough to be mounted onto the Toyota Mirai FCV.
The fact that Toyota using the fuel cell vehicle may indicate how serious the carmaker is about bringing sustainable and clean transportation to the public. With the concept vehicle using the Toyota Mirai FCV as its base, this idea is only a little further along than other concepts built from scratch — who knows whether or not it will be produced for purchase? This is only a preview of what could come for the manufacturer, but at the very least, Toyota is making strides in both sustainability and technology in transport.