Secure Car Access with UWB Ready to Hit China’s Streets
With the growing availability of smartphones equipped with ultra-wideband (UWB), a wireless technology for precise real-time outdoor and indoor localization, Chinese vehicle OEMs are designing UWB into their next generation of cars to enable drivers to use their smartphones for secure hands-free car access.
Blog post by Christoph Zorn from NXP Semiconductors.
Your Phone Is a Smarter Smart Key
UWB delivers high precision, with real-time readings that are accurate to within a few centimeters. The combination of precision and security makes hands-free car access via smartphone one of the most highly anticipated use cases for UWB. When your phone is configured as a secure car key, there’s only one item to carry. What’s more, you can open, start or lock your car while your phone stays in your pocket or purse.
UWB also uses cryptography, random number generation and other techniques to protect UWB communications making it less susceptible to hacking or manipulation. In particular, UWB is highly resistant to relay attacks. With UWB, the time of flight (ToF) calculation used to determine location uses timestamping to effectively combat relay attacks. Any hijacked signals show the wrong time and are expired, making it easy to identify pirated UWB signals and deny access.
China Is Gearing Up
UWB phones have already penetrated the Chinese market with Apple, Samsung and Xiaomi all including UWB functionality in their latest flagship models. Smartphone manufacturers are also collaborating with Chinese vehicle OEMs to develop UWB-based solutions for secure access, indicating that a significant number of Chinese cars can be expected to offer secure car access within the next year. NXP expects four Chinese car OEMs to offer secure car access with UWB by end 2022 and a minimum of three more to follow in 2023.
Chinese OEMs have a number of important reasons to consider UWB for use in vehicles. In addition to UWB’s effectiveness as a technology for secure car access, UWB’s ability to deliver precise, real-time ranging and localization is the basis for a number of advanced automation features that operate at advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) Level 2.5 or above, such as automatic valet parking, which offers driverless guidance to and from an available parking spot.
Accelerating the UWB Adoption in China Through Collaboration
Taking into account that China is a very tech-savvy nation and a fast adopter of new technologies, the fact that a significant number of UWB-ready smartphones are available and car OEMs are now integrating UWB, collaboration further accelerates the growth of the UWB ecosystem in Greater China.
First, the Car Connectivity Consortium (CCC) fosters worldwide collaboration among phone and car OEMs and most recently issued a new standard as an agreed basis for smartphone car assess. The arrival of Digital Key release 3.0* sets a worldwide, cross-industry standard for secure hands-free car access, so participating smartphone and car manufacturers can be interoperable across models and geographies.
Second, NXP has demonstrated industry-wide collaboration on building a UWB ecosystem. Building on their board of directors membership in the CCC and being a co-founder for the FiRa Consortium™, along with close relationships with top-tier manufacturers in relevant industries, NXP has introduced a series of industry-first UWB chipsets tailored for secure ranging in automotive and smartphone applications known as NXP Trimension™.
Long-standing partnerships with Chinese system integrators make NXP uniquely positioned to drive the adoption of UWB for secure vehicle access in China. These partnerships give Chinese OEMs direct access to NXP’s technical innovations, making it easier to quickly and cost-effectively deliver the latest in UWB features for automotive.
KOSTAL’s Digital Key System Ready for Adoption
For example, Kostal is using NXP’s UWB technology for their digital key system for the Chinese market. Using an innovative multi-module multi-node ToF triangulation, the UWB digital key system offers point-to-connect operation of other vehicle systems, such as indoor climate and multimedia players, to enable broader personalization. Domestic vehicle companies such as Nio have confirmed to adopt KOSTAL's digital key system.
The solution fully supports the CCC protocol, which is compatible with different vehicle manufacturers and smart phone OEMs. The KOSTAL system is able to support up to 8 wireless mobile terminal digital keys (UWB digital keys or mobile phones), providing a smooth and comfortable experience from the user's point of view.
Working with system integrators and deep involvement in the ecosystem development through the CCC and FiRa provides insight into the needs of the market and helps NXP accelerate the adoption of UWB in China.
Learn more about Secure Car Access.