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Toyota paying the way for high-speed satellite broadband on the road

Famous for its cutting-edge technology, Toyota has great plans for 2016. Don’t expect an LTE bandwagon any time soon though; Toyota is turning its attention to satellite broadband connectivity. Most of today’s cars already have internet connectivity features, either through an embedded SIM card from carriers like AT&T or Verizon, or through a mobile device. 4G LTE networks are becoming omnipresent in today’s modern vehicles. At peak hours, connectivity can be inefficient and rather slow; furthermore, certain countries have dead zones, so drivers won’t even be able to use their in-car internet.

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Toyota teams up with Kymeta 

Outside the US, there are even bigger connectivity issues. The good news is there’s hope, and that hope relies entirely on satellite broadband. Toyota has teamed up with Kymeta to develop satellite broadband antennas and hook vehicles to the internet. Kymeta is currently developing flat panel antennas from a Meta material, and its goal is to provide better track satellites through steering and software-controlled beams.

The partnership will help Toyota to manufacture small-footprint satellite antennas that can set up always-on satellite and high capacity broadband connectivity. The technology is still under development. To make the system fully functional, the car manufacturer must also build an autonomous car platform and a next-gen cloud-based infotainment system. Vehicle connectivity is mostly used for telematics and media streaming like making calls, emergency response, and searching places of interest using GPS navigation.

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Toyota has big plans for its connected car project

Some car manufacturers want to develop high-speed satellite broadband to deliver OTA (over the air) updates, thus fixing security vulnerabilities and installing new software updates. Tesla offers a similar system that can tested its recent Model S. However, Toyota doesn’t just want to depend on the consumer to access the internet; it doesn’t want to rely solely on cell phone carriers either. The company has a much bigger vision for its upcoming connected car.

Toyota is currently working with Microsoft, UIEvolution and Denso to build a revolutionary cloud-based infotainment system. CEO of UIEvolution, Chris Ruff, talked about the benefits of the system. For the average consumer, a pioneering infotainment system could have a lot of benefits. Data storage and data analysis as well as data usage within the cloud means a lot for autonomous vehicles that must constantly be updated to the latest software.

Toyota gets exclusive rights on Kymeta’s pioneering flat-panel antenna

Toyota placed on a bet on Kymeta’s satellite broadband technology and it won. The auto maker announced earlier this year that it managed to secure exclusive rights on Kymeta’s pioneering flat-panel antenna in cars. The tech company is famous for developing solid-state satellite antennas with no moving parts and with the ability to track satellites in cars on the move using a software controlled beam that steers and bends.

Toyota argues that the advanced technology will help the company offer improved services to its customers, such as various infotainment options, 3D data mapping, and software updates. Furthermore, it will also offer steadier coverage than a cell tower. As greater autonomous capabilities are introduced within today’s modern vehicles, auto makers are also focusing on other useful in-car features such as information database and connectivity to infrastructure. Experts argue that unlike LTE or Wi-Fi technology, satellite connectivity is a lot more secure; that’s mainly because it offers global coverage.

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Toyota tests Kymeta’s technology on the Mirai 

Kymeta’s advanced satellite antenna was tested on a Mirai. The fuel-cell technology is still under development, and it will become fully-functional as soon as the satellite broadband connectivity will become available. Chief Officer for Toyota, Shigeki Tomoyama, emphasizes that the technology is still under development. To speed up the process, Toyota has invested $5 million. For the satellites to work, Kymeta will have to use a “dish” antenna. This will remove the need to install additional mechanical components. Everything will work electronically via liquid crystal technology and software development. The antenna’s flat and lightweight profile will permit seamless integration and easy installation throughout vehicle assembly.

Toyota has been trying to build business partnerships with other tech companies for years. The deal with Kymeta is a pretty exciting one, and even though the technology is not fully-functional yet, soon enough it will and the end result will be a pioneering vehicle connected to the internet via a satellite with global coverage.

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About the Author

John Smith is interested in writing about cars and technology related issues. He has a deep knowledge at this field. Also he writes for a site offering car parts, accessories and spares at cheaper prices.

Toyota paying the way for high-speed satellite broadband on the road Reviewed by Brandon on 10:58 AM Rating: 5

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