NXP Announces New Automotive Ultra-Wideband Chip Capable of Turning Smartphones into Car Keys

NXP Semiconductors announced an addition to its UWB portfolio with a new automotive UWB IC. UWB provides precise, secure, real-time localization capabilities unrivaled by other wireless technologies such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS. The technology is designed to give spatial awareness to UWB-equipped cars, mobiles, and other smart devices, to enable cars to know exactly where the users are. For the first time, smartphone-based car access offers the same level of convenience as state-of-the-art key fobs. Users can open and start cars, while leaving their phones in their pockets or bags, and enjoy secure remote parking via smartphone. Furthermore, the new UWB IC brings maximum level of protection against car theft through relay attacks.

In conjunction with the launch of the IC, NXP, BMW Group, Continental and others are jointly working on UWB implementations through the Car Connectivity Consortium (CCC) and IEEE to ensure the best customer experiences at the intersection of the vehicle, mobile, and consumer devices. These standardization efforts aim to enable a global standard for handsfree smart access and other automotive localization use cases based on UWB.

“Today we are seeing a rapid amalgamation of automotive and smartphone technologies, which altogether unlocks a whole new world of opportunities for smart mobility. Ultra-wideband has transformed from just a data transmission to a secure ranging technology, having multiple use cases for automotive in the coming times. We have worked with two of the leading automotive giants BMW and Continental in the CCC to enable a global standard for handsfree smart access with precise, secure and real-time localization capabilities based on Ultra-Wideband. We believe that the future of the automotive industry lies in such inter-industry collaborations for a better and more secure mobility”, said Mr. Sanjay Gupta, Vice-President & India Country Manager, NXP India.

“Today, the smartphone plays a central role in the digital lifestyle. We are convinced that the smartphone-based comfort access is just the beginning of a series of innovative vehicle-related UWB use cases.” says Dr Olaf Müller, Head of Development Digital Access Functions, BMW Group.

“Continental is at the forefront in delivering secure localization platforms that will create leading applications that catch the imagination of the power user generation,” said Philippe Fournet-Fayat, Director at Continental AG for Car Access Systems. “To deliver new use cases, such as smartphone access and remote parking requires the ultra-precise real-time localization capabilities of UWB.”

“The opportunities that exist in the web of mobility and automotive are vast. As a leading semiconductor manufacturer in these segments, we have the ambition to tap these and bring more seamless and secure mobility experiences to users,” said Markus Staeblein, vice president and general manager of Secure Car Access at NXP. “We are pleased to jointly work on the required interoperability and standardization for UWB  with BMW Group, Continental and other CCC members.”

The NXP NCJ29D5 is the first of a new generation of UWB ICs designed specifically for the demands of the global automotive industry. Together, with NXP connectivity and security solutions, such as Bluetooth, Near Field Communication, and Secure Element (SE), this technology enables true secure handsfree smart access supporting the car connectivity standardization.

Additional Automotive UWB Use Cases

Beyond smart access and remote parking, NXP’s automotive UWB targets other exciting use cases such as

  • Short Range Radar – For life sign detection and easy trunk access
  • Smartphone Valet parking– Cars can be “sent” to park autonomously via a smartphone application
  • Electric vehicle charging– Autonomous positioning on vehicle charger
  • Drive through payment – Localization for secure on the go payment
  • Car as a key – Car is enabled to seamlessly access garage door/parking

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