Hyundai’s New Digital Key May Replace Traditional Car Keys

Hyundai Digital Key

Korean carmaker Hyundai Motor has developed a Digital Key, which allows users to unlock and start their Hyundai car via their smartphone. The new Digital Key, which may soon replace traditional keys, can be downloaded via an app and used by up to four authorized people.

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“The Digital Key will benefit a very wide range of future Hyundai customers, as well as enabling innovative new schemes for vehicle sharing,” said 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.”

When the user places the authorized Digital Key-enabled smartphone near the car door to open it, its presence is detected by NFC technology, which then opens the door.

The NFC antenna for entry identification is located in the handles of the driver and front passenger’s doors, while the one for starting the engine is located within the wireless charging pad, according to a press release.

Smartphone-based car key

The system automatically stores the user’s preferred vehicle settings including the position of mirrors, seats and the steering wheel, as well as controls for the audio, video and navigation (AVN) systems and head-up display, removing the need for the driver to change settings every time they enter the car.

Using Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) communication, users can lock and unlock the vehicle, activate the alarm and start the engine. In addition, once the vehicles with autonomous parking features are commercialized, such features are also expected to be remotely controlled.

The vehicle owner can preset the duration of vehicle use or limit the use to only certain features when renting the vehicle. For instance, it can even be used to enable a courier to open the trunk to deliver a parcel.

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In the future, the company wishes to further enhance the Digital Key to alarm a trigger when the vehicle exceeds a defined speed or travels outside a designated area.

For cases such as using a valet service or visiting a repair shop, where handing over a digital key is not feasible, conventional smart key and card type key are also provided.

Hyundai Motor Group aims to gradually implement the technology in its new production cars, starting with next generation Sonata which is to make its U.S. debut in the New York Motor Show.