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Hyundai reveals smartphone-based digital key

Hyundai has revealed a smartphone-based digital key allowing users to unlock and start their vehicle, replacing the need for a traditional key.

As if smartphones weren’t already glued to our hands now Hyundai has revealed its smartphone-based digital key that will allow owners to turf their traditional key and tap their phone to the side of their vehicle to open and start it. Once the app is downloaded, unique to your vehicle, up to four people can be authorised to use it. The company said it’s hoping to begin roll out of the digital key later this year.

Once the app has been downloaded and authorised, the system uses Near Field Communication (NFC) technology to detect the presence “an authorised Digital Key-enabled cellphone 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 vehicle’s wireless charging pad.

One clever feature is that the owner can store their preferred seat settings, etc. 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 digital key will be able to remotely 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”.

Hyundai said the digital key will make it easier for its vehicles to be used in car sharing schemes, with, in the future, the app updated to allow the rental company to set distance alerts, triggering an alarm if the vehicle exceeds its limit or a set speed and more.

“The Digital Key will benefit a very wide range of future Hyundai customers, as well as enabling innovative new schemes for vehicle sharing,” said Ho Yoo, Group Leader of Hyundai Motor Group’s Electronics Development Group. “We are studying other ways to harness this type of connected-car technology to greatly enhance the driving and ownership experience.”

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Isaac Bober

Isaac Bober