Hella launches virtual car key with UWB technology

Hella launches virtual car key with UWB technology
Technology News |
The automotive supplier Hella has developed a digital vehicle key based on UWB technology. The technology offers advantages over existing solutions - more convenience and above all better security against misuse. Hella's solution is to go into series production in the next two years.
By Christoph Hammerschmidt


The new access solution not only uses UWB radio technology – it is also based on a smartphone app. With this combination, implemented as “Hella Smart Car Access”, the end user can open and close his car hands-free and start the engine without having to pick up a classic radio key or the smartphone. From a distance of 50 metres, the vehicle automatically recognises the end device. As soon as the driver approaches the car to within two metres, it is unlocked. For this purpose, the UWB technology provides a position determination of the key that is accurate to within a few centimetres, based on the determination of the distance by evaluating the signal propagation time. Previous radio keys were relatively easy to outsmart by means of intermediate radio extension devices. Thieves often took advantage of this to steal high-value vehicles.

The engine can only be started when the smartphone is inside the vehicle. At the same time, access authorisations to the vehicle can be digitally managed and shared by means of the Hella Smart Car Access System, for example for car sharing offers or for fleet operators. Personalisable information can also be stored in the smartphone to activate additional comfort or individualisation functions, for example for welcome or interior lighting.

In order to implement the functionalities of Smart Car Access simply, reliably and safely, Hella uses ultra-wideband technology. This radio technology for short-range communication is used as standard in new smartphones. It is characterised by highly precise, centimetre-accurate localisation and also prevents the danger of relay attacks, i.e. the unauthorised opening of a vehicle by radio extension. At the same time, the technology ensures that the system solution from Hella does not necessarily require an app and continues to function even in situations without a network or Internet connection. The system solution is compatible with both Android and iOS operating systems.

Hella has already successfully brought UWB technology into series production in classic radio keys in 2019.


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