You probably use
Near Field Communication (NFC)
almost every day when you make contactless payments with a credit card or your phone. It’s a
handy technology, providing short-range wireless communications, but where could it be useful in
NFC in Automotive
The best-known use of NFC in vehicles is probably smart or keyless access, alongside
Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)
Ultra-Wideband (UWB). For this application, NFC has a vital trick up its sleeve – if your smartphone is the
NFC-enabled device providing access, then the car can still communicate with it, even if the
phone’s battery is drained. Your gadget may seem dead, but it can still identify you to the car.
As well as access, there are many other automotive applications for NFC. To start, it provides a
simple and secure way of linking your phone to a car’s infotainment system. No more fiddling
around trying to get Bluetooth to pair— just hold the phone near the car’s dashboard. It may not
sound like much of a difference, but the contactless pairing is a lifesaver for anyone who
frequently rents cars, and makes it easy to connect a passenger’s phone to your car audio
It's not just about making drivers’ lives easier: NFC can also help mechanics and car technicians
diagnose and fix problems. With vehicles increasingly using electronics and embedded processors,
an NFC-enabled phone can be a useful tool to show error codes and diagnostic information.
In electric vehicles, battery management is vital to maintain lifetime and maximize the charge
stored, and hence the range available. A node including an NFC device, such as the NCx3310, and
other sensors can collect environmental information that affects the battery, such as temperature,
humidity and pressure. The node can then log this data in its EEPROM and transmit it wirelessly
to a secure NFC reader within range.
Another valuable role for NFC can be in protecting against counterfeit automotive parts. This is a
big global problem, with copies of approved replacement components including tires, batteries,
airbags, brake pads and many others. This means that consumers end up with parts that are likely
to be of lower quality and may well pose a safety risk.
Distinguishing between a fake part and an original, just by appearance, can be almost impossible,
but an NFC tag can provide a unique code that may be read and checked to ensure a component’s
authenticity. For this kind of use case, the NCx3310 provides an elliptic curve cryptography (ECC)
based originality check.
While secure keyless access has blazed a trail for NFC in the automotive industry, Tier 1s and
carmakers are getting more familiar with the technology and its potential benefits. Compact,
low-power devices such as the NCx3310 will enable NFC to find a whole range of new, different use
cases in automotive.
To learn more about our new
Forum-Compliant Tag IC, please visit our dedicated product page.