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Connected car comes home after 7,000-mile trek

Kymeta connected car
Kymeta employees check out the stop-sign-shaped antenna on the roof of a Toyota RAV4 car that made a coast-to-coast connected drive. (GeekWire Photo / Alan Boyle)

REDMOND, Wash. — Kymeta Corp.’s Toyota RAV4 sport utility vehicle and the flat-panel satellite antenna on its roof are back at the company’s headquarters after a 7,000-mile test drive across America, and few people are more relieved than Benjamin Ash.

“I’ve never seen anything coming back from being out in the field that long,” Ash, who is Kymeta’s director of manufacturing engineering, said after examining the stop-sign-sized panel. “I thought it was going to be much worse.”

Ash and about a dozen of his fellow Kymeta employees gathered in Kymeta’s parking lot today to celebrate the car’s return to its Redmond headquarters after a two-week, coast-to-coast odyssey.

The trek served as Kymeta’s beta test for a new mobile satellite internet service called Kalo, provided in partnership with the Intelsat satellite network. Kalo is the centerpiece service offering from Kymeta, which was spun out from Intellectual Ventures in 2012 with backing from Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and other high-profile investors.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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