Hyundai has revealed its new ‘digital key’ which will replace the traditional physical key allowing owners to unlock and start their vehicle via an app on their smartphone.
Up to four authorised people are able to use the new digital key which is downloaded onto a smartphone with near field communication (NFC) technology able to detect the presence of the authorised digital key-enabled smartphone once it is in close proximity to the vehicle’s door.
Three NFC antennas are located in the vehicle. One is located in the driver door handle and one in the front passenger door handle to unlock the vehicle with the third located within the wireless charging pad to start the engine.
A user’s preferred vehicle settings are also stored in the vehicle and are activated when a key is recognised. The position of the mirrors, seats and steering wheel, as well as preferences for audio, video, navigation and the head-up display, are all automatically adjusted.
The digital key can also be used remotely with Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) communication which enables the doors to be lock and unlocked, the engine to be started and an alarm to be activated. Autonomous parking is also expected to join this list once the tech is commercialised.
In addition to this, the level of access to different vehicle functions can be set for a defined period of time and for different users. Hyundai expects that once car sharing becomes more common the digital key could be programmed to allow for vehicle rental to become easier.
A conventional smart key or card type key will also be provided for situations where the digital smart key is not practical such as when taking the vehicle for repair or when using a valet service.
The new technology will be gradually integrated into new production vehicles beginning later this year.
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