Hyundai replaces car keys with smartphone app and NFC

Hyundai digital car key and smart phone

Hyundai Motor Group is enabling drivers to access their car and start the engine using a smartphone app and NFC instead of a physical key. The technology is set to be available on new Hyundai and Kia cars which go into production later this year.

The digital key is downloaded to an app on the owner’s mobile phone. The phone is then recognised as an authorised device by NFC readers installed in the driver and passenger doors of the car. A further NFC antenna is installed within a wireless charging pad in the centre console of the car and this identifies the digital key when an authorised phone is placed upon it. This enables the car to be started when a start/stop button is pressed.

Each digital key can be used by up to four users. The vehicle settings, such as the position of the seat, mirrors and steering wheel along with radio and satellite navigation preferences, are all stored and adjusted automatically.

Different levels of access can be set for users, too, paving the way for car sharing, rentals and autonomous vehicles. In these cases, the digital key can be transferred to users via the smartphone app so there is no need for the owner and driver to meet in person.

“The digital key will benefit a very wide range of future Hyundai customers, as well as enabling innovative new schemes for vehicle sharing,” says Ho Yoo, group leader of Hyundai Motor Group’s Electronics Development Group. “We are studying other ways to harness this type of connected-car technology to greatly enhance the driving and ownership experience.”