Test Brings Vehicles a Step Closer to Satellite Connectivity | Edmunds

Test Brings Vehicles a Step Closer to Satellite Connectivity

Kymeta has announced the first successful test of its mTenna link, taking vehicles one step closer to satellite connectivity.

In January, Kymeta's partnership with Toyota resulted in the unveiling at the Detroit Auto Show of a Toyota Mirai fuel-cell car equipped with a prototype of the satellite communication system. In this latest test, the system successfully connected to the Intelsat S.A. satellite constellation, proving that consumer vehicles can be equipped to link to the satellite network.

The test also showed that the mTenna technology can enable cars to communicate with satellites at broadband speed, allowing them to connect to the internet and perform such functions as streaming YouTube videos and handling Skype calls. Current satellite technology requires the use of a large, gimballed satellite dish, while the mTenna module is a small, relatively flat disk with no moving parts.

"This latest test showcases the benefits of high-throughput satellite connectivity for cars," said Nathan Kundtz, CEO of Kymeta, which is based in Redmond, Washington. "Only our innovative technology can be seamlessly integrated into the roof of a vehicle and will deliver the capacity that high-throughput satellites can provide worldwide while supporting new immersive and autonomous driving capabilities."

As part of the collaboration with Toyota, a Toyota 4Runner SUV was also successfully outfitted with a prototype mTenna for an 8,000-mile road test. The goal of the partnership is to outpace cellular technology for vehicle connectivity with Toyota as an early adopter.

Said a Toyota spokesperson: "We are delighted to see that Kymeta continues to make progress since our partnership announcement last year. This test is another positive milestone achieved and an important step closer to the future reality of a secure, high-bandwidth communications system with a global coverage area for connected cars."

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