Many of us wish we could have a crystal ball or soothsayer to tell us what the future will hold. However, Toyota has already gone a step further at the 2016 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit by pulling back the curtain on a remarkable array of futuristic mobility technology and engineering that will someday dramatically change the way the world gets from “Point A” to “Point B.”
Driving The Automotive Future Forward
In addition to displaying today’s full range of new Toyota vehicles, the automaker gave attendees and automotive journalists a tantalizing glimpse into a world where hydrogen fuel, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and a new generation of hyper-connected vehicles will transform our roadways. Much of this groundbreaking new technology is being developed at the new Toyota Research Institute (TRI), an incubator for these amazing new concepts.
One of the most promising new technologies Toyota debuted at this year’s Detroit Auto Show is an entirely new form of satellite-based automotive communication. In partnership with Kymeta Corporation, Toyota displayed a unique Mirai fuel-cell vehicle (FCV) with this new “flat antenna” technology that could allow tomorrow’s vehicles to communicate directly with orbiting satellites for the first time.
According to Nathan Kundtz, CEO of Kymeta, this new “Spectrum Antenna” uses liquid crystals and proprietary software to track and lock on to orbital satellites automatically for uninterrupted, high-capacity data streaming. Toyota’s Senior Managing Officer Shigeki Tomoyama stated that the company has been aggressively pursuing this extraordinary new communications technology that historically has required a bulky fixed-position dish similar to those used to receive satellite-based television programming.
Toyota’s Vision For A Sustainable Tomorrow
The automaker also presented its unique FCV+ concept vehicle that exemplifies Toyota’s vision for a more sustainable and connected global society that relies on abundant, non-polluting hydrogen fuel. The concept vehicle can use an external source of hydrogen fuel to use as a source of electric power at home or on the go.
Flexing its green-technology muscles, Toyota also introduced the all-new 2016 Prius Liftback. Toyota takes its proven hybrid technology further than ever with the stunning new Prius Liftback’s bold new design, improved fuel economy, and enhanced driver comfort.
Redefining How We Interact With Cars
Toyota also gave attendees a look at KIKAI, a whimsical concept vehicle that shatters the traditional notion of what an automobile should be, as well as how people will relate to it. KIKAI pays tribute to the “craftsmanship, beauty, simplicity, and motion” of man-made machines.
Another highlight of Toyota’s presence at the Detroit Auto Show was its highly popular i-ROAD 3-wheel personal electric vehicle. The motorcycle/car hybrid i-ROAD’s unique “Active Lean” technology, according to Toyota, was designed to mimic the movements of a skier for remarkable agility in crowded urban settings. Another Toyota concept that garnered lots of media attention was its FV2 that lets a driver shift their weight to control the vehicle. The FV2 also can communicate with other vehicles in the area to improve safe driving.
“Back To The Future” Revisited
Finally, Toyota took attendees on a nostalgic ride “Back To The Future” to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the popular movie franchise. Marty’s beloved off-road Toyota Tacoma featured in the movie fast-forwards to 2016 with a modern, one-of-kind update.
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