Hyundai creates app to unlock and control vehicles with mobile phone

Digital Key allows smartphones and cars to communicate with each other at close range

Adrian Hearn
Monday 18 March 2019 14:00 GMT
The app can be used by up to four people for the same car and can save personalised driving settings
The app can be used by up to four people for the same car and can save personalised driving settings

Frantically looking for your car keys could become a thing of the past after a manufacturer developed an app to control a vehicle by mobile phone.

Hyundai has created the “Digital Key” which uses Near Field Communication to allow a phone and car to talk to each other when in close proximity.

After the smartphone unlocks the vehicle, the driver starts the engine by placing the device on a wireless charging pad and pressing an engine Start/Stop button on the dashboard.

The app can be used by up to four authorised people who can save each person’s preferred driving settings.

Once the phone and car connect, the position of the mirrors, seats and steering wheel will adjust automatically depending on the user’s requirements.

By using Bluetooth Low Energy communication, the Hyundai Digital Key can also lock and unlock the vehicle, activate the alarm and start the engine remotely.

The level of access to different vehicle functions can be tailored to each user, for a defined period.

Hyundai has developed the technology with car sharing schemes in mind - but it could also be used to enable a courier to open the boot to deliver a parcel.

As car sharing becomes more widespread around the world, the Digital Key will be programmed to make peer-to-peer vehicle rental easier.

The owner and the driver will not have to meet but can transfer the Digital Key via the smartphone app.

The Digital Key will also have features such as an alert which can be triggered if the person renting the Hyundai exceeds the speed limit or drives outside an agreed area.

Ho Yoo, group leader of Hyundai Motor Group’s Electronics Development Group, said: “The Digital Key will benefit a very wide range of future Hyundai customers, as well as enabling innovative new schemes for vehicle sharing.

“We are studying other ways to harness this type of connected-car technology to greatly enhance the driving and ownership experience.”

Hyundai has said it aims to gradually implement the technology in its new production cars.

It follows the manufacturer’s development of smart fingerprint technology that allows drivers to unlock doors and start the vehicle.

To unlock the car, the driver places a finger on the sensor located on the door handle. The encrypted fingerprint information will be identified and delivered to the fingerprint controller inside the vehicle.

The technology’s chance of incorrectly recognising another person’s fingerprint as the driver’s is one in 50,000 - making it five times more effective than conventional vehicle keys, including smart keys.


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