Photo of the Mirai-based Kymeta research vehicle courtesy of Toyota.

Photo of the Mirai-based Kymeta research vehicle courtesy of Toyota.

Toyota has developed a research vehicle based on the Mirai fuel cell sedan that uses Kymeta satellite communications technology to explore heavier data transfers from a connected vehicle.

The vehicle was shown at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit.

Toyota and Kymeta have been jointly researching flat antennae, embedded in the car, to support satellite distribution of huge amounts of data to a vehicle since September of 2013. With an exclusive right for development and testing of the on-car antenna, Toyota lent the company research vehicles for test driving. 

The automaker is working to install a data communication module into more of its vehicle lineup, according to a release. 

Mirai Creation Investment Limited Partnership, a fund where Toyota participates as an investor, provided an investment of $5 million to Kymeta this month to enhance future technology research and development. Toyota expects acceleration of the joint research with Kymeta through the investment.

Kymeta’s satellite antennas remove the need for mechanical components by using software and liquid crystal technologies to electronically track and steer towards satellites. The lightweight, flat profile of the antenna also allows for seamless integration during vehicle assembly or easy aftermarket installation.