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NXP unveils new chip to turn smartphones into car keys

NXP Semiconductors, the world’s largest provider of automotive semiconductors, has added to its UWB portfolio with a new automotive UWB integrated circuit, or chip.

UWB provides precise, secure, real-time localization capabilities unrivaled by other wireless technologies such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS.

The technology is designed to give spatial awareness to UWB-equipped cars, mobiles, and other smart devices, to enable cars to know exactly where the users are.

For the first time, smartphone-based car access offers the same level of convenience as state-of-the-art key fobs.

Users can open and start cars, while leaving their phones in their pockets or bags, and enjoy secure remote parking via smartphone.

Furthermore, the new UWB IC brings maximum level of protection against car theft through relay attacks.

In conjunction with the launch of the IC, NXP, BMW Group, Continental and others are jointly working on UWB implementations through the Car Connectivity Consortium (CCC) and IEEE to ensure the best customer experiences at the intersection of the vehicle, mobile, and consumer devices.

These standardization efforts aim to enable a global standard for handsfree smart access and other automotive localization use cases based on UWB.

Dr Olaf Müller, head of development digital access functions, BMW Group, says: “Today, the smartphone plays a central role in the digital lifestyle.

“We are convinced that the smartphone-based comfort access is just the beginning of a series of innovative vehicle-related UWB use cases.”

Philippe Fournet-Fayat, director at Continental for car access systems, says: “Continental is at the forefront in delivering secure localization platforms that will create leading applications that catch the imagination of the power user generation.

“To deliver new use cases, such as smartphone access and remote parking requires the ultra-precise real-time localization capabilities of UWB.”

Markus Staeblein, vice president and general manager of secure car access at NXP, says: “The opportunities that exist in the web of mobility and automotive are vast.

“As a leading semiconductor manufacturer in these segments, we have the ambition to tap these and bring more seamless and secure mobility experiences to users.

“We are pleased to jointly work on the required interoperability and standardization for UWB with BMW Group, Continental and other CCC members.”

The NXP NCJ29D5 is the first of a new generation of UWB ICs designed specifically for the demands of the global automotive industry.

Together, with NXP connectivity and security solutions, such as Bluetooth, Near Field Communication, and Secure Element, this technology enables true secure handsfree smart access supporting the car connectivity standardization.

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