Keyless car entry
Wireless car entry via key fob controls or smartphones is another application area where Bluetooth Low Energy has set its sights. Although a sub-1-GHz RF technology is already in use for keyless car entry today (TI offers it), Bluetooth Low Energy is “equally ideal,” Machness contends, since its power consumption is also below 1 microamp.
But the advantages of using Bluetooth Low Energy for car access are many, once drivers start to use the Bluetooth Low Energy embedded in their smartphones.
If you walk up to a car and open it with your smartphone, the smartphone can exchange driver information with the car, prompting the car to adjust seat positions, climate settings, and others according to driver preference.
Smartphones can also display diagnostic information to help drivers understand those cryptic, maddening engine warning lights.
Nonetheless, obviously, controlling everything inside a car via smartphone isn’t entirely practical. Machness says it’s best for lifestyle chores like changing the ambient light inside a car.
There are a lot of possibilities for users to control the in-car environment that would become reality only if OEMs weren’t reluctant to run more wires. Further, truth be told, carmakers are running out of dashboard space for more buttons.
The industry players charged with writing applications for in-vehicle functions via Bluetooth Low Energy are Tier 1s, car OEMs, and third-party developers. Asked about Bluetooth Low Energy security, Machness noted that the wireless technology standard comes with robust, built-in AES-128 encryption. “Only car OEMs and Tier 1s will have the full control over what’s allowed and what’s not allowed in the Bluetooth Low Energy-enabled control functions inside a car.”
TI is sampling its Bluetooth Low Energy CC2541-Q1 wireless MCU today, with “several projects” already in process, according to Machness. The device will become available in volume in the third quarter this year. Cars whose doors and windows can be controlled by Bluetooth Low Energy are expected to reach the market in 2015 and 2016.
— Junko Yoshida, Chief International Correspondent, EE Times