Continental, NXP to integrate NFC into cars

February 18, 2011 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Mobile phones will me more tightly integrated into vehicles – this has been the mantra in the industry already for several years. Now chip vendor NXP and automotive electronics supplier Continental have demonstrated how NFC (Near Field Communications) can be used as an enabler for new applications.

The NFC technology is already on the verge to broad acceptance for cellphone-based payment system applications. At the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, NXP and Continental showed how the technology could be used for automotive applications such as driver identification and keyless entry systems.

The companies showed a concept vehicle in which an NFC-based keyless entry system was employed. The system unlocks the car as soon as an authorized user held the NFC-equipped mobile handset near to the door, triggering an authentication cycle between car and handset. The phone then is clicked into a socket at the dashboard, where the mobile phone is then seamlessly integrated into the vehicle's infotainment system. At the same time, the car's immobilizer is deactivated.

In addition, the vehicle transmits its navigation data to the cellphone. The data are stored locally in the cellphone by means of an app. Thus, these data are available for the user even when the driver (along with his cellphone) is away from the vehicle; drivers can find their car even in an unknown town.

The NFC integration is part of its “Always On” strategy for future cars, Continental said.

Cell phones and smart phones are taking over vehicle-related functions – not only because the users wish to be able to use their devices also in the car, but also because smartphones with their inherent data processing capability represent an attractive platform for infotainment and authentication functions. Similar to what NXP and Continental now have showed in Barcelona, BMW demoed the concept study of a scooter at last year's Paris Motor Show where an iPhone took over the function of the ignition key.

Related articles:

BMW demos consumer electronics integration – with a scooter