Hyundai Motor Group has announced the development of a ‘Digital Key’ which allows users to unlock and start their Hyundai or Kia vehicle via their smartphone. Replacing a traditional physical key, the new Digital Key can be downloaded via an app and used by up to four authorised people.
It works by using Near Field Communication (NFC) technology that detects the presence of an authorised Digital Key-enabled smartphone 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, whilst one for starting the engine is located within the wireless charging pad.
After unlocking the vehicle the user can simply 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.
Hyundai’s Digital Key can be used to control selected vehicle systems remotely via their smartphone. Using Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) communication, users can 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 user’s preferred vehicle settings are also 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.
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 boot to deliver a parcel and 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 keys are also provided.
Hyundai Motor Group aims to gradually implement the technology in its new production vehicles, starting later this year.
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