Automakers Interested in NFC, Though Still Mainly Test Driving the Technology
Automakers BMW and Hyundai both recently announced plans to incorporate NFC functionality into their vehicles.
German automaker BMW has announced availability of its “BMW Car Hotspot LTE,” while South Korea's Hyundai demonstrated a prototype of its “Connectivity Concept” that includes NFC, with plans for a market launch of the technology in 2015.
The announcements could signal the beginning of uptake of NFC by the automotive industry, though most projects remain in the prototype stage.
For example, at the Paris Motor Show last fall, telco France Telecom-Orange demonstrated use of NFC-enabled Samsung Galaxy smartphones for entry to an Opel Ampera, with the encrypted keys sent to the phones via SMS. Users tap their phones on an NFC chip on the car’s windshield to unlock the car. The system is targeted mainly at enterprise fleet managers and rental agencies, allowing them to avoid passing around physical keys. Orange Labs and French engineering firm ADM-Concept developed the system, though NFC-enabled car keys have been demonstrated before.
The developments follow the formation of the Car Connectivity Consortium in 2011, which seeks to accelerate the connection of mobile devices with in-car systems.
Both Hyundai and BMW are members of the consortium, which is building what it calls the MirrorLink standard, using Bluetooth, NFC, USB and Internet protocols. It includes all major carmakers, as well as a number of technology suppliers.