If you’re the kind of person who is never without their phone but constantly forgetting their keys, Hyundai may have the solution for you. The car company’s latest digital key app will let you unlock your car and even start it without having to touch your traditional key.
This is all made possible thanks to your phone’s NFC chip, so if your handset is one of the few models not to ship with one, then you’ll be out of luck. For everyone else, once registered on the app you’ll just need to hold your handset near an NFC antenna on either of the vehicle’s front doors. Once you’re inside, placing your phone on a wireless charging pad will let you start the engine with the tap of a button on the dashboard.
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Hyundai is clearly thinking about this in terms of ridesharing, and up to four people can have permission to unlock a single vehicle. Rather neatly, the car will remember their preferences, so when they place the phone on the wireless charger, seat position, mirrors, steering wheel height and even the infotainment system will match the presets of whoever is in the driving seat. Outside of the vehicle, you can also activate the alarm using Bluetooth Low Energy.
That’s all the app has for now, but Hyundai says it has more features planned in the pipeline, including the ability to transfer the key between drivers, which should be extremely handy in the car rental sector where drivers could be added and blocked at will. There’s also plans to support features like autonomous parking via the app in future.
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If this sounds a bit worrying for traditionalists, don’t worry: the car will still come with a physical key if you don’t want to put your means of getting home at the mercy of a device that’s constantly draining its battery.
Is this the future of car keys or an unappealing gimmick? Let us know what you think on Twitter: @TrustedReviews.