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Samsung Realizes Digital Car Key on Mobile Phones with UWB Technology

TEMPO.CO, Jakarta – Samsung is reportedly in talks with a number of car manufacturers for digital lock functionality into mobile phones. Revealed in January, at the launch of the Galaxy S21, it seems that the partnership has been successfully realized because Samsung phones with Ultra-Wideband (UWB) technology are now able to function as digital car keys.

Some phones are equipped with UWB technology, namely the Galaxy S21 Plus and Ultra, Galaxy Z Fold3 and 2, and Galaxy Note 20 Ultra. For starters, a digital lock with a cell phone using that technology will only work with the Genesis GV60 pure electric car.

Samsung promises “passive entry” which means it can be used to lock and unlock the car door without having to take the phone out of a pocket or bag. With the presence of a cellphone not too far away, users will also be able to start the car engine and adjust the mirrors, seats or others.

The digital key is stored in Samsung Pass—and protected by an “embedded Secure Element (eSE)”—and, according to Samsung, can be shared with anyone running Android 11 with the same app downloaded on it. Samsung also has partnerships with Audi, BMW and Ford. The hope is that these car brands will immediately provide support like what Genesis has started.

UWB technology seems to be changing the game in the tech industry, given its growing applications in areas ranging from smart tags to smartphones, even smart homes. This technology is essentially a short-range wireless communication protocol and uses radio waves for connectivity similar to Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, albeit at much higher frequencies.

Genesis GV60 (Antara/Hyundai)

UWB brings greater connectivity options and precision to smartphones and other devices that use it, much better than Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.

Samsung is now using UWB and NFC technology for two of the main features of its phones: this digital car lock and the Galaxy SmartTag. Samsung brings this in parallel with Apple which has also introduced digital car keys enabled by the U1 chip alongside iOS 14.


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