Hyundai has created a digital car key which uses both Near Field Communication (NFC) and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) for communication between a phone and a car. It lets you unlock the car by holding your smartphone against the driver or passenger door handle. But that is not all it does.
To start your car once inside, you have to place the phone on the wireless charging pad, and push the engine Start/Stop button. The engine starts and you can drive. This digital car key is simply called, Hyundai Digital Key, and the first car to feature this is the 2020 Sonata. Later Hyundai car models will see this new feature.
Hyundai Digital Car Key app
The Hyundai Digital Key works via a mobile app on your phone. It is available as a free download for Android smartphones from the Google Play Store. At this time, it is not available for iPhones. How times have changed: once upon a time, iPhones got all the cool apps first.
But Hyundai has made available NFC Key Cards for iPhone owners to use, so they are not entirely left out.
How does the Hyundai Digital Car Key work?
Download and install the app on your phone, set it up, and you are good to go. Hyundai says that the Digital Key app does not have to be open to unlock or start your car. It runs in the background and will work anytime you hold it close to your car door handle.
You can configure the digital car key app to be used by up to four family members, if you share your car. That way, everyone can install and use the app on their phones to unlock and start the car. A cool feature of the sharing is that the digital key saves and remembers each person’s preferred driving settings. Cool. That is some convenience.
You will need a compatible Android smartphone (one running Android 7 or later), and with Bluetooth 4.0 or later, as well as Near Field Communication (NFC). Note that if your smartphone has only one of NFC and Bluetooth Low Energy, the level of features you can use on the digital car key will be limited.
What do you think of the idea of using your cell phone to lock/unlock and start/stop your car? NFC is regarded as secure, but will you feel safe knowing your smartphone provides that access to your automobile?