German automotive supplier Continental has announced that it will showcase its new NFC-enabled vehicle access control solution this week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
According to Continental, the “Simplify your Drive” system uses a virtual key that is stored on the SIM card of NFC-enabled phone. To unlock a vehicle, the user simply taps their handset against the car door equipped with an embedded reader.
In addition to access control, the solution makes it possible to load personalized settings – e.g., seat position, climate control, radio station, GPS directions to common destinations – on the NFC key, so that when you unlock the door your car automatically adjusts to your driving preferences, according to Continental. Drivers can also use NFC to wirelessly charge their cell phone during travel.
According to Continental, the solution will be particularly useful for car sharing or car rental services, as it enables the provisioning of virtual car keys over the Internet, rather than having to keep track of physical keys.
For example, once the customer has selected a vehicle on the rental website, a temporary digital key from Continental and the driver’s profile is loaded onto the cell phone’s SIM card via a secure data link. At the same time, the cell phone receives the license plate number and the location of the car.
Continental says it is currently working with telecom companies to integrate services like Deutsche Telekom’s “mobile wallet” for storing and organizing the electronic car key in the cell phone. With the addition of mobile wallet technology, drivers may be able to organize their bank account or credit card data and pay for car sharing or car rental services.