Hyundai Previews Key Fob–Eliminating Smartphone “Connectivity Concept”
Hyundai showcased some of its latest technology recently in a demonstration held near its European headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany. Intended to streamline the integration between smartphones and in-car infotainment systems, the Connectivity Concept system also permits users to lock and unlock their vehicle by placing the phone over a Near Field Communication tag—they’re like the RFID tags stores use to prevent shoplifting, but allow for two-way communication—on the vehicle, effectively eliminating the need for a conventional key fobs and combining the act of misplacing your car keys and smartphone into a single dunderheaded action. Versions of the technology could see production as early as 2015.
Previewed in the automaker’s Euro-market i30, the system essentially puts the technical heavy lifting on the shoulders of the comparatively easy to upgrade smartphone. Placing the phone in the center console activates the user’s profile and wirelessly streams user-specific content such as music, phone contacts, and radio-station preferences to the i30’s touch screen while simultaneously charging the phone’s battery. (Toyota recently introduced the ebin, their take on wireless phone charging, and GM also plans to introduce that tech.)
Items including navigation, internet-based applications, and multimedia content can be controlled and accessed via the in-dash touch screen. Hyundai says the capability to store information such as driver seating positions and exterior mirror settings will come online as the technology develops. Multiple users can be synced with a single car, whereby the Connectivity Concept tailors everything according to the data housed in each driver’s smartphone.
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While none of this technology is the stuff of science fiction—except maybe to your 90-year-old grandpa—it is undeniably cool, and it should allow folks to concentrate less on fiddling with their gadget and more on the most important task performed while in a car: driving.