By on November 3, 2014

Hyundai Smartphone Key

NFC — near-field communication — technology not only can allow you to buy a My Little Pony: Equestria Girls doll from Walmart (or will, once Walmart et al decide Apple Pay and Google Pay are better than CurrentC), but it may soon allow you to start your car by simply tapping the ignition.

Automotive News reports Netherlands-based NXP Semiconductors will soon offer automotive-grade NFC chips and tags to its clientele, including a first-of-its-kind controller chip that can support numerous functions, such as climate control and seat adjustment, over single-function chips.

The NFC integration cost is expected to be $2 per vehicle, though the price could climb if automakers want their NFC systems to do more than start the engine. Meanwhile, a few operating systems running today’s modern connected-vehicle setups have the ability to use NFC, such as BlackBerry’s QNX.

Though NXP won’t say who among their base have signed up to bring the technology into the automotive market, the company says the first vehicles with their wares will leave the assembly line in 2016.

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28 Comments on “Smartphone-Vehicle Pairing NFC Tech On The Horizon...”


  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    This is excellent. When your phone can control the things inside your car, it will make buying a Land Rover and its subsequent button and electrical fails more acceptable!

    But the “starting car” bit sounds stupid, as modern cars come with remotes which you leave in your pocket/fanny pack anyway.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Gosh the spammy filters is extra hungry today. I can’t say much at all.

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    This is the regulators’ wet dream; now they can set up the “start your car” chip to also disable your phone when you start your car.

    No thanks.

    To say nothing of the fact that the only phone I carry is a work iPhone, and I’m not associating my work phone with my car keys.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    Is flipping a key such a chore?
    What about sun flares?

  • avatar
    redav

    And this is different than current RFID keys, how? Those can tell the car who you are, your preferred seat/mirror/steering wheel positions, and can nanny vehicle functions (valet mode, limit stereo volume, top speed, etc.)

    • 0 avatar
      redliner

      Because with this, your phone essential is the key. One less thing to carry.

      • 0 avatar
        WheelMcCoy

        >> Because with this, your phone essential is the key. One less thing to carry.

        I am not giving my phone to the valet!

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        Even if this makes me an old-fogey, I don’t care:

        – I have no need nor desire to carry a phone with me at all times. I have no need nor desire to use my phone while I’m driving.
        – I am just fine using money & dedicated payment tools (cards). I don’t need them replaced with virtual accounts (such as ‘wallet’ tools on cell phones).
        – I have no problem carrying & using a real ID.
        – I like things that still work when the batteries run out.

        I am no aluminum foil hat wearing, conspiracy believing wacko. But I do wonder if there are people who desire our world to progress to a point where everyone receives an RFID implant (like you can put in pets) that would control everything: serves as the keys for your car, house, office, etc.; serves as your govt-issued ID, boarding pass, etc.; logs you on to your profile on your home/work computer; serves as your wallet & replaces money; and so on. I believe most people don’t want this, but the more companies consolidate identity and consumers buy into it, such a state becomes more realistic. After all, when someone loses their phone after making it their phone, keys, wallet, ID, etc., their life basically stops.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    This is stupid. The whole “my phone needs to do everything” thing is stupid. No, I am not entering or starting my car with my phone, and I am not going to make calls with my car keys. Stop the madness.

    • 0 avatar
      S2k Chris

      It’s only stupid given the inevitable mission creep, as I alluded to above.

      But if the only effect was I have to carry one less thing around, that’s awesome, not stupid.

    • 0 avatar
      319583076

      I agree 100%. I expect my phone to send and receive phonecalls and text messages and provide voicemail service. That’s it.

      Similarly, I expect my car keys to provide access to my car and permit me to enable the accessory and ignition. That’s it.

      I wanna drive a dumb-slow-manual car until I die.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      NFC doesn’t have to be in a phone. They could build an NFC based key fob. In fact, a quick look at NXP’s web site shows a both a phone and a key fob. I wouldn’t mind my phone as a backup to a key fob. Lose or misplace the fob, just use the phone instead.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      As someone who regularly loses his wallet and keys but hasn’t managed to lose a phone (thank you, Find My iPhone/BlackBerry Protect/Android Device Manager), I’d be all over starting a car with an NFC chip in my phone or smartwatch.

      • 0 avatar
        Quentin

        Yup, I’d love to not have to worry about losing my keys every time I go out on a mountain bike ride. I’m going to notice that my phone has gone missing, but I’d never notice the keys were gone until too late. I lost a garage door opener on a mountain bike ride near my house once.

        I don’t think the idea is to completely get rid of normal keys, either. The Jitterbug users here would still have their normal fob style keys available.

  • avatar
    sproc

    I think it would be pretty awesome if it allowed you to send someone a virtual key. Need to borrow your brother’s pickup? No problem, he just sent you a “key” with no handover required. It could even be for a limited period, or have geographic or other restrictions like daylight only.

  • avatar
    J.Emerson

    Reading the comments, I’m surprised by how many of you are enamored with handing over $400 to the dealer whenever you lose an RFID keyfob or want a duplicate.

    • 0 avatar
      sproc

      I see it as avoiding that entirely. If I’m going to carry a $500 smartphone in my pocket anyway I’d prefer that replace the fob.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      Not using a cell phone as a key =/= using a new, dealer-programed key.

      Cost is a function of control. If only the dealership can program the cell phone, it will cost just as much as programing existing RFID fobs. If it becomes something like Home Depot cutting a profile on a blank key, then the cost will come down.

  • avatar
    STRATOS

    Great ,more toys that do not belong in a car.There are people out there who have not mastered the ignition switch yet.Along with other car functions.

  • avatar
    wmba

    Since VW, Audi, MB, and BMW do not have, even as an option, remote start, what use is this?

    I got lectures from BMW and Audi last week about even wanting such an option – apparently Germany regards the feature as “un-green”.

    They obviously havr never had to scrape half an inch of freezing rain off a car door as the temperature plunges. The door may be unlocked., but you still cannot get in. A bit of heat from inside helps immensely.

  • avatar
    JimothyLite

    “…chip that can support numerous functions, such as climate control and seat adjustment…” The epic and the mudane: Click… rise no higher, O sinister seas! Click-click… rest thee now, O weary vertebrae!

  • avatar
    wmba

    All German marques currently will not sell you remote start – it’s officially regarded as un-green. So are they going to change their minds?

    Apparently freezing rain never occurs in the land of the mighty Teuton, but it does here. The door may be unlocked but there you are scraping away ice as the temp plunges.

    I’m in favor of using my phone if it puts the Germans noses out-of-joint.

  • avatar
    Fred

    Will this work with my flip phone?

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