I think the possibilites are endless, for schemes to open the door and start the car. I'm not sure why a smartphone would even make the top 10.
Aside from the physical key and the existing fob schemes, I could use NFC from my corporate badge or from my Metro card. I could use a barcode scheme on a card or sheet of paper, stuck to the back of my wallet. I could touch a finger to a fingerprint reader somewhere on the car, for entry and for starting the engine. I could use a retinal scan device.
Seems to me that any scheme which is purely biometric is preferable to some clunky smartphone, no?
Technology is not the obstacle here. It has to be convenience and security. And it's far better to rely on the car's battery if possible, rather than relying on a battery in the "key" device. And as always, a mechanical backup is called for, in case the battery dies.
Today, young entrepreneurs are looking for way to revolutionary the way we have been living. Embedded your car key into your smartphone seems like a logical path. I was so excited when I read the first half of the article. "Not so fast." When I read that, I know I have missed something. Mr. Riches made an excellent point.
The battery of most smartphone barely lasts for a day. Although you can always carry an extra pack of battery, you will never know how soon you will have both of them running out. No doubt, extra car key (actual or remote - like that one Prius has) can be used to mitigate the challenge. It's kind of defeat the purpose of putting a car key in the smartphone. I believe one of the primary purposes is to reduce number of items being carried. NFC can certainly be a second option in addition to Bluetooth LE.
With regard to security, the fingerprint security on iPhone 5s can come into play if SDK is opened up for other apps to access the feature.
Thanks Junko for the information. Wonderful coverage.
Besides the topics and issues you mention I can imagine one more aspect. Where to go to if you are not able to open the car door or start the engine? Is it the responsibility of the car manufacturer to solve the problem? The responsibility of the phone manufacturer? Or the responsibility of the carrier who provided you with a phone when you took a subscription?
Technology is not the obstacle here. It has to be convenience and security.
You are so right about this. Then, the question becomes which is the best technology to get the job done, in order to achieve convenience and security. When NXP started making chips that incorporates "vehicle theft and smart access solution," I thought it was brilliant. Because your car key is not just a physical key to open and close the door of your car, but it is also an anti-theft device.
Now that many people already have a smartphone, putting a smart car key inside a phone seemed like solving the convenience issue -- having one less thing to carry around. But alas, for the moment, that technology choice turns out to be not so convenient. Is it more secure? I am not sure.
Thanks for your kind words, chanj. Just like you, I got very excited initially at an idea of a car keying being one more thing that could be replaced by a smartphone. Going through the thought process and talking to people was a lot of fun.
But as more and more people living in big cities start using a car sharing scheme like Zipcar (instead of owning a car), smartphone definitely has a role to play. It can be a paperless identification and payment device to gain an access to the car you are sharing. But of course, you still have to open a car with a physical key!
@Rick, yeah, really. I was originally thinking about doing a story -- dissecting what Nissan Watch brings to drivers... I may still write about that, but aside from its cool looking design (I actuall like it!), why would you need to be "told" by a watch that you need to slow down? Seriously. It's like having your mother sitting next to you in a car, and telling you how to drive!
I am both creator and consumer of smart electronics...but sometimes I wonder why people try to solve problems which are not real problems...don't we have enough real problems around? what is wrong with the standard car keys? that you misplace them? well, you can misplace your phone too? they will not discharge at least and nobody wil hackem them...Kris
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