The emergence of digital keys is redefining car access. With smartphones at
the center stage, everything from how cars are accessed to started and shared
is taking on a new look. And NXP’s cutting-edge technologies are helping to
make all these possible. We recently won the BMW Supplier Innovation Award for
Digitalization for our contribution to the BMW Digital Key Plus – a
recognition that acknowledges our innovation lead in
smart car access solutions and shows that digital keys—what used to be mere imagination—are fast
becoming a market trend.
BMW Supplier Innovation Award, Photo: BMW Group
This blog highlights some key topics around this trend that the Car
Connectivity Consortium (CCC) has predicted will be in more than 15% of new
cars in 2023.
Ultra-Wide Possibilities to Explore
The further integration of smartphones into car functionality has ushered in
more connected experiences from cars to smartphones and vice versa, creating a
wide range of new features. Cars can now be opened and started using
smartphones even while they are in your pocket or handbag and the access can
be shared with specific entitlements without having to physically give anyone
a key. These possibilities bring extensive benefits including improved fleet
management and car rental.
Purpose-Built Technologies Are Making the Difference
Arguably, some of the experiences from digital keys are unprecedented when
compared to what is attainable with classic car access. Several technologies
bring them to life. In particular, Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology acts
as the communication link and initiates authorization or “handshake” of the
key in the background. The outcome of the authorization then determines
whether access will be given or not.
enables precise and secure real-time localization between the smartphone and
the car. This allows the car to decide the next course of action, whether it
is turning on the welcome lights or adapting the mirrors and seats depending
on your position. However, access to the car is achievable in the area about 2
meters away from the car. UWB precisely identifies any movement in this zone.
NXP Trimension™ offers one of the broadest UWB portfolios.
Near-field communication (NFC)
provides the backup entry for access when a smartphone runs out of power.
Altogether, these smart technologies function collectively to give users a
No Compromising on Security
Beneath the experience, the constant bi-directional communication between the
car and the smartphone requires a high level of security for the exchange and
storage of data. For this reason, Secure Elements (SEs) are becoming
increasingly used in cars although they are not new to smartphones. They
enhance digital keys
by preventing compromise to the safety of the car and its user.
Secure hands-free car access with UWB
A Growing Network of Players
Overall, the continuing interplay between phone OEMs and car OEMS around
digital keys is expanding the car access ecosystem. As such, the
Car Connectivity Consortium (CCC)
is focused on fostering global collaboration among both sets of players and
ensuring interoperability across the different car and phone models. For
instance, the CCC’s Digital Key release 3.0 specification issetting the
cross-industry standard for secure hands-free car access. The seamless
collaboration, and the uniformity it will promote, will be vital as the
transition towards digital keys continues.
We offer a portfolio of technologies and system knowledge that enable robust
and scalable car access. Our smart and secure car access solutions are giving
both smartphone OEMs and car OEMs the edge in the transition.
To learn more about our scalable car access solutions, visit our
smart car access reference platform.