Your Next Car Key May Just Be Your SmartphoneBy: Zach Walton - December 27, 2012
What’s the one thing you lose the most? If you’re like the stereotypical comedic archetype, it’s probably your car keys. The little guys can’t help constantly losing themselves in your purse or being accidentally left on a table at a restaurant. One car company is hoping to solve that problem by tying the car key to the most important item on your person – the smartphone.
Hyundai announced its intention to create a new prototype at its headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany of a new car that uses wireless technologies to control everything in the vehicle. It’s called the Connectivity Concept and it very well may change how we interact with cars by 2015.
Here’s how Hyundai explains the concept:
Shown on Hyundai’s award-winning New Generation i30, the Connectivity Concept allows the user to lock and unlock the car by placing their smartphone over an NFC-tag (Near Field Communication), negating the need for a traditional key fob.
Once inside, the device is placed in the centre console, which then activates the user’s profile by streaming content to the i30’s seven-inch touchscreen. All user content such as music, phone contacts, radio station preferences and individual profile settings are displayed. In addition the device’s battery is recharged wirelessly while in use.
What may be the most exciting concept is that the car can be synced with multiple users via their individual smartphones. When a person’s smartphone is inserted into the car, all of their in-car settings are instantly loaded for a personalized experience.
There’s even more features planned for the technology as Hyundai develops it. The company’s Senior VP and CEO of Hyundai Motor Europe, Allan Rushforth, explained some of the more futuristic advances the company is making with its Connectivity Concept:
“Hyundai’s Connectivity Concept showcases the brand’s philosophy of making tomorrow’s technology accessible to a wide range of customers. With this technology, Hyundai is able to harness the all-in-one functionality of existing smartphone technology and integrating it into everyday driving in a seamless fashion. As the technology continually develops there will be capabilities to store driver’s seating positions and exterior mirror settings, providing customers with a comfortable and individual driving environment.”
The only potential downside to all of this is that it could make car theft easier. There will have to be some serious safe guards in place to prevent would be thieves from replicating the unique identifiers of an owner’s smartphone to unlock the car.
You’re not going to see this kind of technology in cars until at least 2015 though so Hyundai has a few years to perfect it. By then, we may even have Google’s amazing self-driving cars making their way through more cities.