Toyota, the world’s largest car manufacturer is betting big that satellite broadband will provide robust connectivity for the company’s vehicles. During the 2016 North American International Auto Show, Toyota announced that it had obtained the exclusive rights to use revolutionary flat panel antenna made by a company called Kymeta. The antenna would be used in Toyota vehicles which would in effect make it possible for high speed satellite broadband on the road.
Kymeta is a company that is based in Redmond Washington and was spun out of Intellectual Ventures in 2012 which is a VC firm backed by Bill Gates. The company has managed to develop what is called solid state antennas which like SSD hard drives have no moving parts. These antennas have the ability to track satellites in moving vehicles courtesy of software-controlled beam bending and steering capabilities.
Satellite internet is global
According to Toyota the technology will allow the company to offer better services to its customers such as updating 3D map data as well as provide infotainment. The company says satellite internet will provide greater coverage and will be more dependable than using cellular towers. It adds in contrast to mobile, satellite broadband is truly global and scalable.
Competition will be fierce
As companies vie with one another to introduce greater autonomous capabilities in cars, connectivity to infrastructure and information databases as well as other vehicles will become critical. In theory satellite connectivity is more secure than LTE or Wi-Fi because it offers global coverage and is always on. It is not yet obvious however when satellite connectivity will arrive.