Hyundai Motor Group has developed a ‘Digital Key’, to allow users to unlock and start their vehicle via a smartphone. The Digital Key can be downloaded via an app and be used by up to four people.
Near Field Communication (NFC) technology – a form of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) – detects the presence of an authorised Digital Key-enabled phone in close proximity to the vehicle door.
The NFC antenna for entry identification is located in the handles of the driver and front passenger’s doors. Another is located in the wireless charging pad and is used to start the engine.
The user can start the engine by placing their smartphone on the wireless charging pad and then pressing the engine Start/Stop button.
Hyundai says its Digital Key can also be used to control selected vehicle systems remotely via the smartphone. Using Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) communication, users can lock and unlock the vehicle, activate the alarm and start the engine. In addition, the company says that once vehicles with autonomous parking features are commercialised, such features are also expected to be remotely controlled.
The level of access to different vehicle functions can be tailored to each user, for a defined period. 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 trunk to deliver a parcel.
Once car sharing becomes more widespread, Hyundai says the Digital Key will be further programmed to support hassle-free vehicle rental where the owner and the driver won’t have to meet but can transfer the Digital Key via the cell phone application.
As well as making it much easier for a Hyundai vehicle to be included in a car-sharing program, in the future, the Digital Key will be further enhanced to allow for features such as an alarm to be triggered when the vehicle exceeds a defined speed or travels outside a designated area.
For cases such as using a valet service or visiting a repair shop, where handing over a digital key is not feasible, conventional smart key and card type key are also provided.
Hyundai Motor Group says it aims to gradually implement the technology in its new production vehicles, starting later this year.