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Monday - November 15, 2021

Ditch Your Car Keys with Ultra Wideband Access Technology

Car keys are so 2020 – am I right? In this day and age, when smartphones have become a ubiquitous item in our pocket or purse, we shouldn’t need to bother anymore with traditional access methods. Keys are so easy to misplace or forget that they are not a practical option when more advanced methods exist. Today, it is possible to use your smartphone to unlock a smart home lock via either a WiFi or Bluetooth connection. In the future, Ultra Wideband technology will make even more intelligent access solutions possible.

Present Day Vehicle Access Systems

As technology improves, so do driver’s interactions with their vehicles. Key fobs have become incredible complex (and expensive!) and allow drivers to somewhat personalize their access experience. The great thing about physical keys is, of course, the security they provide. Beyond the use of criminal techniques, without the physical key, a stranger would be unable to unlock and start your car. However, because the fob is much smaller and only serves one purpose, we typically don’t pay it as much mind as say, our smartphones.

Our dependency on smartphones aside, these miniature computers in our pockets are highly capable, secure and necessary in a digital society. To date, digital car keys have mostly been a technology concept or reserved for luxury vehicles with built-in hardware. New developments in compatibility standards between major phone and vehicle manufacturers have led to real possibilities for digital car keys in the near future. Vehicles will need to be equipped with a Near Field Communication (NFC) reader in order to detect, verify and authorize access to the vehicle. NFC communication is convenient for low power operation and short-range communication, but Ultra Wideband (UWB) can provide better range and security, making it ideal for automotive applications.

Secure Your Vehicle with UWB Digital Car Keys

New smartphones are being developed with UWB-capable technology that will eventually be able to communicate with UWB chips within vehicles. Because UWB communication transfers data via radio pulses, it is possible to detect time-of-flight and angle-of-arrival information which, in this case, provides the accurate distance between the phone and the car, and which direction the user is traveling. Because the pulses are so short and range information is available, it is highly capable at preventing remote attacks and provides an extremely secure solution.

Another advantage of UWB communication is speed – faster data transfer rates are capable allowing users to quickly access their vehicle. When your smartphone is the key, it is possible to transfer encrypted access to others with compatible smartphones and allow them to unlock and drive your vehicle. This opens up many opportunities for both vehicle owners and renters.

New Possibilities for Shared Mobility

If you live in a large city prone to traffic congestion and scarce parking, you may decide not to own a vehicle as the cost of ownership outweighs the benefits. By contrast, you may own a vehicle and rarely need to drive. These situations offer a good example of the potential benefits of using shared digital car keys. For instance, if you need a car to make a trip to the grocery story, a traditional car company that rents by the day is not a good solution. However, renting by the hour offers drivers more flexibility – for both owners and renters. This scenario is made possible by using UWB technology to power shared digital car keys.

Contact us to learn more about how U-Shin E-access is driving the UWB digital car keys revolution in next generation vehicles.

Christian Voegerl
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