Have you already seen the new Hyundai Sonata? The South Korean marque really worked hard in designing its midsize sedan. Now, we won’t ask you about your thoughts on it but what we actually want to do is highlight its Digital Key feature. You definitely read that right – a digital key. Since this might be the first time you are hearing it, let us define what a digital key is.
Nowadays, smartphones are everything. As a simple text and call a handheld device, it can do far more complex things that wouldn’t be possible 10 years ago. Now, it can also act as your car key – the idea came from Hyundai. The South Korean brand’s Digital Key shares the idea like that of a keyless entry system; you won’t need a physical key or a push of a button on the key fob. This advanced system uses a dedicated smartphone app integrated with Near Field Communication (NFC) technology.
According to the South Korean automaker, its technology “exhibits high-level security.” It will only activate when the device and the reader are within a certain proximity. Using this technology, car owners will be able to control the vehicle remotely, such as locking and unlocking the vehicle, activating a panic alert, as well as starting the engine. All of the aforementioned actions can be done through the help of the Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology.
In addition, since the data is kept on the app, it allows secure sharing of keys to family members and friends, while maintaining different levels of access tailored to each key user. Catch this, the vehicle owner may preset the duration of vehicle usage, limit the access on certain vehicle features, and revoke any key remotely (during instances when the vehicle is being loaned).
The Digital Key innovation sure brings a new level of convenience to the table but no matter how secure something, when we’re talking about the digital world, anything can be easily tampered. Unless Hyundai uses military-level maximum security, the Digital Key could be worrisome for other people. A physical key can be bypassed by a wire and, in more bizarre instances, a hook attached on a string. We can only imagine how it wouldn’t be a challenge to black hat hackers.
Another downside of this feature is the fact that the Digital Key is currently only compatible with Android smartphones. There is no information yet regarding the app’s availability in Apple iOS so a notable chunk of convenience is lost on iPhone users. Fortunately, Hyundai came up with a solution – a complementary NFC card that comes along with the car after the purchase.
Convenience and security are the major concerns weighed whenever we’re speaking of technology. The Hyundai Digital Key promises a new level of convenience. Regardless, it seems like we’re directly headed to a time where cars are an extension of our mobile phones.