Samsung Launches Digital Car Keys for Single Eco-System Experience
Samsung is currently rolling out support for digital car keys starting in South Korea with the all-electric Genesis GV60. The feature, which works with several recent Samsung smartphones, allows users to start and lock their car even if they don’t have the physical keys in hand.
Supported devices include the Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus and Ultra, Note 20 Ultra, and Galaxy Z Fold 2 and 3. If you live in South Korea, you have one of those phones, and you bought the new GV60, you’ll be able to take advantage of “passive entry.” That means you can unlock and lock your car without pulling out your phone. So long as it’s nearby, you’ll also be able to start your car.
But what happens if you forget your phone? What’s in place to protect your car from would-be hackers? Samsung states the digital key is both convenient and secure. Digital keys are stored in an “embedded Secure Element (eSE),” basically a dedicated chip housed inside the phone that stores information in an encrypted manner. Users can share a car key with someone else running Android 11 that has a supported phone.
Samsung’s digital car keys use ultra-wideband technology, a wireless protocol that transmits high-frequency radio waves. The company says this enables highly accurate spatial awareness so the car and phone can communicate without any delays or other issues.
At this point, few people can take advantage of this feature. However, Samsung has partnerships with Audi, BMW, and Ford, so more drivers and cars can utilize this technology in the future. Anyone who’s ever had a car key go missing knows that digital keys could be a big lifesaver.
The feature can also be shared to other smartphones, regardless of brand or platform, in a seamless manner – this can also be done across long distances. Samsung is working with the Car Connectivity Consortium (CCS) and FiRa Consortium to standardize UWB and digital key technology, making them more readily available, secure and shareable.
With the car and phone linked via UWB, and the use of augmented reality, it’s also easier for owners to locate their vehicles, says Samsung. Carmakers that are partnered with Samsung on UWB and digital key technology include Audi, BMW, Ford and Genesis, with the feature set to be available after August 2021.
Samsung’s announcement comes several months after Apple presented its CarKey feature, which initially uses NFC technology, but will support UWB – via its U1-equipped devices – later this year.
Source: Craig Wilson, Input Magazine