Hyundai has developed a smartphone-based digital key that can be used to unlock and start a car without a physical key or FOB. The feature will be built into new Hyundai and Kia vehicles starting later in 2019.
The digital key app can be downloaded to a smartphone, and near-field communication (NFC) technology detects the presence of an authorised digital key on a phone close to the car door.
The NFC antenna is in the handles of the driver and passenger front doors and one for starting the car is in the wireless charging pad. To start the car, drivers place their smartphone on the wireless charging pad in the centre console and press the engine Start/Stop button on the dashboard.
The digital key can be used for additional functions via Bluetooth, such as locking and unlocking the doors remotely, activating the alarm and starting the engine. Once vehicles with autonomous parking features are commercialised, they also are expected to be remotely controlled via the digital key, according to Hyundai.
“We are studying other ways to harness this type of connected-car technology to greatly enhance the driving and ownership experience,” stated Ho Yoo, group leader of Hyundai Motor Group’s Electronics Development Group.
For using a valet service or repair shop where handing over a digital key is not feasible, a conventional car key is also provided.