Kymeta continues to make progress with its satellite antenna internet technology for connected vehicles.
The Redmond, Wash.-based startup announced today that it completed a successful demo of its satellite antenna system that can send data to cars at broadband speeds — this time, with a smaller sized 20-centimeter antenna.
Previously, Kymeta built a 70-centimeter version of the antenna, which are installed as modules in a car’s roof and takes advantage of metamaterials and LCD technology to pick up satellite signals from any direction while moving, without the need for pointing.
But now the company’s engineers have figured out a way to build a 20-centimeter device that offers similar connectivity and can fit into many more vehicles.
“This is a big deal,” Tom Freeman, senior vice president of Kymeta’s land mobile division, told GeekWire on Tuesday.
The 20-centimeter antennas connected to a satellite constellation owned by Intelsat — a Kymeta partner — that enabled secure mobility connectivity with a single aperture. It also allowed for access to YouTube videos, Netflix shows, and Skype calls.
Kymeta is working with Toyota on the antennas, as the two companies made a joint announcement last year about the new technology. A Toyota spokesperson called today’s news “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.”
This also comes after Kymeta showed off its satellite technology at the Monaco Yacht Show this past October.
“This latest test showcases the benefits of high throughput satellite connectivity for cars,” Kymeta CEO Nathan Kundtz said in a statement. “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.”
Freeman noted that building smaller antennas also helps bring down the cost of manufacturing the devices.
“The economics of this is extremely powerful,” he said.
Kymeta announced last month that it will install the 70-centimeter version of the antenna to “civilian armored vehicles” used by government officials and VIPs. Freeman said he expects “lots and lots of cars” to have the 20-centimeter antenna installed by 2025.
Kymeta was spun out from Bellevue, Wash.-based Intellectual Ventures in 2012 with investments from Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Lux Capital, Liberty Global and other venture-capital heavyweights.