Ultra-wideband (UWB) has emerged as a secure ranging and precision sensing technology which creates a new dimension of spatial awareness for wireless devices. By measuring the time of flight, UWB is able to determine very precisely how far away two UWB-equipped devices are and where objects are in a given space. By using the speed of light, it determines the true location of the key. Your car recognizes that the real key is not nearby and therefore doesn’t let the car open. That means UWB is not only super precise, but has strong security attributes. So it was no surprise when NXP decided to develop digital car access systems based on that technology. But integrating UWB into our car keys is not the only way to make our lives easier and more secure. This blog highlights some of the ways UWB will shape the future of the automotive experience.
Imagine you are in your car on the way to the shopping mall. We all know how it goes – you arrive at the car park and wait in line until each car in front of you has stopped at the entry gate for a ticket. Once you have your ticket, you need to store it somewhere safe because you will need it when you’re ready to leave. Then, the most frustrating part—the search for a parking spot. You drive around the car park looking for a free space, meanwhile losing valuable time from your trip. When the day is over and you found your favorite dress, it’s time to carry it home. You’re standing in front of the payment station and you find yourself going through pockets and bags looking for that parking ticket!
Sounds tedious, right? UWB can make your trip to the shopping mall a lot easier. The new experience starts when entering the car park. The gate recognizes the cars driving in and opens automatically. No waiting line and your digital parking ticket is now stored on your smartphone. Your car communicates directly with the UWB-equipped car park and is navigated seamlessly to a free parking space. If you’re driving an electric car, the UWB technology ensures that your car is parked right above the charging pad to safely start transfering power. And if we go one step further, you won’t even have to sit in the car to park it. Via a smartphone application, cars can be sent to park autonomously—that's what we call remote controlled parking.
Then, when you are ready to leave, your car picks you up so you don’t have to carry your shopping bags around the car park and all you need to do is take a seat and drive through the exit. The gate will recognize your car, open again and calculate the cost for your stay automatically. You will receive a message that you left the car park and all that is left to do is to confirm the payment on your smartphone. Thanks to UWB, there is no more ticket search and queuing, instead you can spend more time in the dressing room.
Finally, no successful shopping trip is complete without dinner afterwards. You order your favorite dish at your favorite restaurant on your way home and your next stop is the restaurant’s pick up window. Once you’re there, the counter recognizes you automatically, your order is already waiting for you and you pay easily by drive-through payment when you leave. Your phone completes the transaction when your car crosses a certain section of pavement, as you pass by the payment window—no further action needs to be taken.
Ultra-wideband technology not only enables a secure connection between you and your car. It also has the ability to change our daily routines and habits and transform the way we consume or pay. These potential use cases make clear that we are transforming from an “On-Demand World” to a world that anticipates our needs and automates our daily routines.