Image source: Hyundai
South Korean motor company, Hyundai, is introducing new technology that will allow drivers to unlock and start their car via their smartphone.
Selected new models will start offering the technology this year, with users able to download the digital key as an app and each car allowing for up to four authorized devices.
The system uses highly secure near field communication technology, which is a form of radio frequency identification with high levels of security, meaning that data transmission only takes place when the device and reader are no more than a few centimeters apart. It is the same technology used for contactless payments via smartphone.
Antennas will be fitted in the front door handles and a wireless charging pad fitted inside the car. Users unlock the car by bringing an authorized smartphone close to the door, then start the car by placing it on the charging pad and pressing a start/stop button.
The vehicle will also recognize each user’s preferred settings, such as position of mirrors, seats and the steering wheel, as well as controls for the audio, video and navigation systems.
When a car is being shared amongst multiple users, the owner will be able to limit the functions available for each digital key. This could include placing a time-limit for when the key will expire or setting an alert to warn the owner if the car is being driven too fast or is outside a designated area.
Conventional or card-type keys will still be provided for when sharing the digital key would be impractical, such as when leaving the car in a repair workshop or valet parking.
“The Digital Key will benefit a very wide range of future Hyundai customers, as well as enabling innovative new schemes for vehicle sharing,” said Ho Yoo, Group Leader of Hyundai Motor Group’s Electronics Development Group. “We are studying other ways to harness this type of connected-car technology to greatly enhance the driving and ownership experience.”
Last year, Hyundai also outlined plans to be the first car company to introduce smart fingerprint technology for selected markets on the new-generation Santa Fe, which is also due to be launched this year.