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Do You Hate Losing Your Car Keys? Hyundai Plans to Convert Smartphones to Car Keys

Sites include . Published on January 8th, 2013. Written by Anthony West.

If you own a car then you’ve probably at some point misplaced or lost your car key. This frustrating and sometimes painful event is the bane of car owners everywhere and over the years different people have come up with different solutions to combat the problem. Despite several innovations however, people continue to lose car keys and the collective “err” can sometimes be heard from miles away.

Hyundai wants to change things

The latest innovator to throw their hat in the lost car key ring is Hyundai, the car manufacture which originally hailed from South Korea. These days the company is headquartered in Germany and with its new-found love for efficiency; it is now looking to make your job of finding your car keys an easy and pain free task. The idea is simple: turn your smartphone into a car key; this way you won’t have to fret about misplacing or losing your car key because it will be housed in one of the most important items we walk around with everyday—our smartphone.

This is how Hyundai envisions the smartphone-cum-car key working: “Shown on Hyundai’s award-winning New Generation i30, the Connectivity Concept allows the user to lock and unlock the car by placing their smartphone over an NFC-tag (Near Field Communication), negating the need for a traditional key fob. Once inside, the device is placed in the centre console, which then activates the user’s profile by streaming content to the i30’s seven-inch touchscreen. All user content such as music, phone contacts, radio station preferences and individual profile settings are displayed. In addition the device’s battery is recharged wirelessly while in use.”

The bold new tool for interacting with your car will incorporate all the added features found in modern smartphones, including syncing of music, personal data and the like. Once setup, you’ll be easily interfaced with all your vehicle preferences kept at your fingertips.

What could go wrong?

The idea is no doubt an interesting and potentially exciting one, but many already see a gaping hole in Hyundai’s plan—theft protection. If the car key is the smartphone, many argue, won’t it make it easy for someone to steal your car? Hyundai will of course have to answer this fundamental question; though I am sure it would have been one already thought of by designers and engineers.

The reality is that smartphones will eventually take on the added functionality being pioneered by Hyundai. Smartphones are already acting as wallets; many already have integrating functionality that allow them to control home appliances and in some cases access to the home itself. The car will be no different and once Hyundai gets its prototype up and running, many other car manufacturers will follow suit.

Senior VP and CEO of Hyundai Motor Europe, Allan Rushforth believes that what the company is doing will put its customers at the cutting edge of smartphone technology and interconnectivity: “With this technology, Hyundai is able to harness the all-in-one functionality of existing smartphone technology and integrating it into everyday driving in a seamless fashion.”

The cars and the smartphone to make this promise a reality won’t hit the stores until 2015 so in the meantime you’ll just have to take better care if your car keys.

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