Hyundai on Monday unveiled a smartphone-based digital key that can unlock and lock the doors, start the car, and more. The automaker said it may begin introducing near-filed communication on its cars as soon as this year in some markets.
The digital key tech is part of Hyundai's move toward car-sharing, which it expects will take off in the future. The digital key can be shared with four people once the owner authorizes the others. If the owner loans their car out as part of a car-sharing service, they can also block certain features. Even further, the owner can set alerts for if the car exits a certain area or travels faster than certain speeds. The digital key can also unlock the trunk for a delivery person to place a package inside.
Outside of car sharing, the digital key does have a few other neat tricks. For each authorized user, the digital key remembers settings. For instance, when the driver approaches the car, the digital key communicates via near-field communication technology to identify the user. Then, the mirrors, seats, audio, and climate settings are configured to the driver's preset preference. All the driver needs to do is have the phone a few inches from the door handle, and then place the phone on a wireless charging pad to start the vehicle.
Remote functions include the ability to lock and unlock the car from afar, start the vehicle, and sound the alarm. Hyundai also said it will still provide a traditional key or a card-like key for instances when sharing the digital key isn't ideal, such as when it comes time to service the car.