Hyundai is getting ready to showcase its Digital Key technology at this year’s NY Auto Show, before launching it in the 2020 Sonata this fall.
The Digital Key is a downloadable smartphone app that basically replaces your traditional car key thanks to its Near Field Communication (NFC) technology for detecting authorized smartphones. There’s also an NFC antenna located in the driver’s door handle, while a second antenna for starting the engine sits in the wireless charging pad within the center console.
Once you’re authorized, the key lets your smartphone control various vehicle systems remotely using Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) communication. You can lock and unlock the car, activate panic alert and start the engine as long as you’re no further than about 30 feet (9 meters) away.
Up to four authorized users can utilize the key, which leads to seamless vehicle sharing. Your preferred settings are also stored in the car, meaning that the vehicle will automatically know to adjust its side mirrors, radio presets, sound settings and seat positioning based on your preferences.
In order to make sure everything is secure, Hyundai used Trustonic Application Protection, allowing for transfer requests to be securely displayed and approved by a real, authenticated user on a trusted device.
“Hyundai has been a leader in connected car technology for a long time now, with new features like Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Smartwatch and Smart-speaker integration into our vehicles,” stated Manish Mehrotra, director of digital business planning and connected operations with Hyundai Motor America. “Digital Key adds convenience for 2020 Sonata owners and allows us to be ready for future shifts in the mobility space, such as car sharing. We chose Trustonic because of their multilayered, industry recognized cybersecurity approach.”
Of course, if you’re the actual car owner, your clearance level is deeper than that of other authenticated users. You can even set vehicle-function permissions, plus the duration of access for each shared user.
As for future applications based on the app, they include car rentals, triggering an alarm when a vehicle travels outside a designated area, plus remote control of features such as autonomous parking.