Although smartphones as virtual car keys have yet to be mass-produced, the technology is a step further. According to foreign media reports, NXP has introduced a security architecture for virtual car keys, greatly expanding its functional scope.


(Image source: NXP official website)

NXP’s solution not only enables the use of smartphones as virtual car keys, but also other Electronic devices such as smart watches or smart cards as virtual car keys, but also extends the functionality of existing virtual keys. Whereas previously virtual keys had to be strictly bound to smartphones, this can now be extended to open systems where keys can be passed around. In addition, a space or time expiration date can be set for the key. In this way, family and friends can share cars through smart devices, fleets and car-sharing companies can provide keys through the cloud, and online orders can be delivered directly to the trunk.

The solution is based on NXP’s NFC (Near Field Communication) chipset and Secure Element technology, and features the company’s new Secure Element, which is also compliant for automotive applications. The solution can be used to open and start the car using an NFC smartphone, a traditional car key, or an NFC smart card containing a digital key. In addition, it allows secure transfer of access authorization to other mobile devices. Furthermore, the solution can be seamlessly integrated into conventional locking systems such as keyless vehicle entry systems.

Secure digital key management is also aimed at laying the groundwork for hands-free entry systems in cars, so NXP plans to expand digital key solutions with its in-vehicle Bluetooth (BLE) communication and precise and secure ultra-wideband (UWB) positioning technology.

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