Smartphone terminal combines wireless charging, antenna and NFC

September 30, 2014 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
The smartphone has developed to the most important link between vehicles and the outside world. Taking this significance into account, Continental has developed a smartphone terminal for in-car use that combines wireless charging and antenna coupling with NFC communication in one system.

Continental's smartphone integration is designed according to the Qi standard from Wireless Power Consortium (WPC). The automotive supplier believes that Qi offers ideal properties to integrate smartphones wirelessly into vehicles in that it supplies charging currents in the same magnitude as the widespread USB connection, resulting in comparable charging times as wire-bound charging systems. The system supports smartphones of all operating systems. The requirement is, however, that the respective smartphone model either supports Qi wireless charging directly or allows for replacing its back lid against a Qi-compatible one. Continental lists a number of available smartphone models across all operating system camps that meet these conditions. Among them are models from Samsung, Nokia, Apple and LG.

The crucial point in wireless charging is, according to Continental, the temperature management: It has to make sure that no component of the smartphone or its counterpart in the car exceeds the maximum temperature. In addition, Continental equipped the system with an object recognition that interrupts the charging process if metallic objects such as coins, keys, or even chewing gums with metal foil packaging are deposited inadvertently in the smartphone charger.

Besides the Qi standard, there are alternative standards for wireless charging at the market - like, for instance PMA from the Power Matter Alliance or A4WP from the Alliance for Wireless Power. Continental plans to support these standards too; the respective development is already under work.

The smartphone terminal also connects the smartphone wirelessly to the vehicle's antenna. Towards this end the terminal is equipped with a passive antenna coupling element, developed by antenna expert company Kathrein Automotive. This element also features a 'Compenser' unit that adjusts for the losses resulting in the passive coupling element and the antenna feeder. This approach results in more stable mobile radio connections, better voice quality, and lower exposure to electromagnetic fields for driver and passengers.

In addition to wireless charging and wireless antenna coupling, the Continental terminal