updated 03:21 pm EST, Thu December 27, 2012
Hyundai Connectivity Concept relies on NFC
Smartphone users could one day find their handheld devices replacing yet another item that took up space in their pockets, as Hyundai has been showing off a concept car that lets smartphones double for the keys that open and start the car. The technology relies on Near Field Communication tags, which communicate with the smartphone, allowing the device to perform many of the activities now normally built into the security chip on a physical key. The concept was developed by Hyundai and Broadcom, and it could be showing up in vehicles as soon as 2015.
The Hyundai Connectivity Concept stores and recalls user profiles, meaning that it can call up preferences for different users depending on whose phone activates the car. The system can store information on audio, climate, and phonebook entries, with the profile being pulled up and available before a user even starts the car. The concept also includes a charging pad that allows users to keep their devices at full charge throughout a ride.
The concept's designers still have some issues to iron out. For one, the car doesn't quite yet know how to handle multiple linked smartphones at the same time. There is also the issue of how to access the car if the user's smartphone battery is dead.