There is no doubt that this is the future. Smartphones have already taken over our lives, with the phone part being just small part of the wide array of functionalities. South Korean automaker Hyundai recently demonstrated the use of smartphone as a car key at its European headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany.
Part of Hyundai’s “Connectivity Concept” a smartphone was used to unlock and lock a Hyundai i30 hatchback. The modified i30 had Near Field Communication chips embedded in it, a technology which is fast becoming a standard feature in many smartphones.
The technology is not limited to only using the smartphone as a car key of course. Once inside the smartphone can be placed on a center console, doing which will immediately connect the smartphone with the car’s infotainment system, (in this case, a 7 inch touch screen display) and transfer user preferences, contacts, music, videos, maps etc from the smartphone. This means seating position, steering position, driving preferences are automatically adjusted for each user as he or she ‘logs-in’ with their smartphone. Placing the phone on the console also charges the battery.
MirrorLink standard was used to transfer data from the smartphone to the car’s infotainment system and Hyundai has announced that Broadcom is its technology partner.
“With this technology, Hyundai is able to harness the all-in-one functionality of existing smartphone technology and integrate it into everyday driving in a seamless fashion,” said Allan Rushforth, senior vice president and COO of Hyundai Motor Europe.
Though the feature is already functional it will become mainstream in Hyundai automobiles only by 2015. This time frame will be used to streamline the features and make sure it works without any glitches. We understand that several security features will also need to be put in place before it can be standardised. Afterall, we would not want just anyone with a smartphone to just walk in and drive away with our cars.
Hyundai is not the first automaker who has showcased the integration of smartphones and cars. Earlier, Ford had demonstrated a similar technology to unlock cars as well and NFC based wireless charging will be a standard feature in 2013 Toyota Avalon Limited.