NOVI, Mich. (WXYZ) - New technology is bringing the connectivity of your living room to the backseat of your car.
While many new cars are rolling off the assembly line with 4G connectivity, Kymeta is pushing the limits with all-new 5G technology. It’s faster high-speed satellite internet without the bulky satellite dish you naturally think of.
Instead, Kymeta Corporation is showing off a “car of the future.” The company is using a specialized satellite receiver that looks like a small flat dinner plate — the sell is that it can offer more connectivity without the need to create a network on the ground like 4G technology.
As the company’s founder points out, less than 10-percent of the earth is covered by 4G/LTE. The cost to build up the network to expand that comes at a high-cost. Kymeta aims to skip that step by beaming data direct to a flat antenna that is capable of capturing a signal while moving on a road, parked in a remote location, or even crosses borders.
“If you stood on the roof of this car and threw a tennis ball as far east as you could and it came back and hit you in the back of the head, that is the kind of precision in which we’re hitting with a satellite,” explained Tom Freeman, the senior VP of Kymeta.
Freeman conducted an interview with 7 Action News as a co-worker drove the Kymeta connected car around Novi. Despite taking back roads, and the interstate, multiple devices in the car remained connected — one iPad was streaming Netflix, another YouTube, an iPhone was connected to Skype while an Amazon Dot was streaming Willie Nelson music.
Four gadgets running simultaneously may seem like overload, but the point is clear: the capabilities of the new tech is off the charts, but the real use may be far beyond connectivity for the sake of infotainment.
Freeman pointed out past recall efforts that involved computer components of cars where less than 25-percent of people brought their cars back to the shop. In his mind, the Kymeta connected car could beam a fix directly to a car for coded-related issues. It could also come in handy making sure that GPS mapping is up-to-date at all times, something that may be more important than ever in the near future as autonomous cars become a part of everyday life.
Asked about another hot button issue within both the tech and car industry — security — Freeman told 7 Action News that satellite is more safe than it’s competitors.
“What we like about satellite connectivity is that it’s point-to-point,” said Freeman. “It is by far the most secure system you can use.”
That may be important as reports dating back to 2014 show that it’s possible to hack internet-connected cars — but the demand is so high for connectivity inside vehicles that it’s already being rolled out in more and more vehicles.
In late February Kymeta announced that it’s newest product, a 20 cm antenna has successfully passed it’s latest tests noting, “the test is the first step in making a connected car its most secure and connected at a global scale.”
How soon the tech is available in a car you buy on the lot is still a question, but Toyota is already in a partnership with Kymeta so anything is now possible.