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NXP and Volkswagen explore ultra-wideband technologies

NXP Semiconductors and Volkswagen have shared early glimpses into Ultra-Wideband (UWB) technology and its future applications.

In a Volkswagen concept car, the companies showed the capabilities of Ultra-Wideband for advancing security, safety and convenience in vehicles.

Lars Reger, CTO of NXP Semiconductors, and Maik Rohde, head of body electronics and car access systems, Volkswagen, discussed the pioneering collaboration as part of a broader, cross-industry push to leverage the unique capabilities of UWB: accurate localization and fine ranging at maximum security levels.

In automotive alone, UWB will enable interesting new use cases such as automated trailer hitch activation, in-cabin passenger detection, automated valet parking, hands-free parking, lot access and drive-through payment, to name a few.

Another interesting application is walking pattern recognition for car access, which was demonstrated in the VW concept car.

The Volkswagen UWB car key used high-precision sensing technology and Artificial Intelligence to learn personalized user gestures.

Developers of groundbreaking applications in a broad range of markets including mobile, automotive, internet-of-things and the industrial space, have been actively seeking a secure, fine ranging technology that delivers precise outdoor and indoor localization.

UWB meets these requirements and is a clear enhancement compared to existing wireless technologies such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS.

Its ability to process contextual information such as the position of the UWB anchor, its movements, and distance to other devices with an unprecedented precision of a few centimeters in real-time, will enable a host of new and exciting applications.

Lars Reger, chief technology officer, NXP: “We see enormous potential in UWB. As a co-founder of the FIRA Consortium we are working to enhance the technology, drive its standardization and also to develop new use cases.

“A potential application, that I personally find very compelling, is the potential UWB has to replace the key ring for your home, office or car.”

Maik Rohde, head of body electronics and car access, Volkswagen: “The first UWB application we see is in theft protection – another security milestone which you will see in volume Volkswagen car models starting this year.

“But this is only the beginning. UWB, especially when combined with high-precision sensors and Artificial Intelligence, can deliver further benefits. Some of these you can experience in our concept car.”

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