The carmaker Hyundai has announced it’s developed a ‘Digital Key’ to allow users to unlock and start their vehicle via their smartphone.
It says this replaces a traditional physical key and can be downloaded via an app and used by up to four authorised people.
It works by using Near Field Communication technology to detect the presence of an authorised Digital Key-enabled cellphone in close proximity to the vehicle door, with the NFC antenna for entry identification located in the handles of the driver and front passenger’s doors, whilst one for starting the engine is located within the wireless charging pad.
After unlocking the vehicle, the user can start the engine by placing the smartphone on the wireless charging pad in the centre console and pressing an engine Start/Stop button on the dashboard.
The user’s preferred vehicle settings are stored in the vehicle. When the key is recognised those settings are adjusted automatically – including the position of mirrors, seats and the steering wheel, as well as controls for the audio, video and navigation (AVN) systems and head-up display.
Hyundai says the Digital Key can also be used to control selected vehicle systems remotely via their smartphone to lock and unlock the vehicle, activate the alarm and start the engine. In addition, once the vehicles with autonomous parking features are commercialised, such features are also expected to be remotely controlled.
The vehicle owner can preset the duration of vehicle use or limit the use to only certain features when renting the vehicle. For instance, it can even be used to enable a courier to open the boot to deliver a parcel.
Hyundai says it also has ideas for car sharing giving access to repairers or valets in the future.