Secure virtual car key opens up new usage models

March 10, 2020 //By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Secure virtual car key opens new usage models
The smartphone as a virtual car key has not yet arrived in series production, but evolution has already taken this technology one step further. On the basis of the Car Connectivity Consortium’s Standardization Release 2, NXP has introduced a secure architecture for virtual car keys that significantly extends the range of functions.

NXP's solution enables not only smartphones to be used as the basis for virtual vehicle keys, but also other electronic devices such as smart watches or smart cards. Most importantly, it extends the functionality of previous virtual keys. This allows the previously rigid binding of a virtual key to a smartphone to be extended to an open system where the keys can be passed on. It also makes it possible to link the key to a spatial or temporal validity period. For example, families and friends can share their cars via smart devices, fleet and car sharing companies can provide keys via the cloud, and online orders can be delivered directly to the trunk.

The solution is based on NXP's NFC chipsets and secure element technologies, as well as a new secure element from this manufacturer that is also qualified for automotive applications. It enables a car to be opened and started using an NFC-enabled smartphone, a conventional car key or an NFC smart card that contains a digital key. In addition, it allows the secure transfer of access authorization to other mobile devices. It can also be seamlessly integrated into classic locking systems such as keyless vehicle access systems.

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