How many of you don’t particularly like have to carry a key fob around for your car? Much like how you can store all of your payment cards in a digital wallet and then make payments on the go with your phone, what if it was possible to leave your car keys at home but still be able to drive off?
That’s a question that standards bodies like the Car Connectivity Consortium and the FiRa Consortium have been pondering. Samsung wants in on the action as well. It announced new partnerships today which will enable you to unlock your Audi, BMW, Ford or Genesis car with a Galaxy S21.
Samsung is harnessing the power of UWB to get rid of your key fob
Samsung announced during its Galaxy S21 launch event today that the company is working with these auto manufacturers to bring the digital key functionality to the Galaxy S21. The feature is expected to go live later this year.
Since there are industry-backed standards bodies working on the tech, the digital keys will be shareable across smartphones, regardless of the brand or platform. So you could, in theory, share the digital key for your car with a friend who uses an iPhone.
The company’s description of the feature suggests that it will utilize UWB or Ultra Wide Band technology. The handset would recognize pulses of low-power energy from UWB-equipped cars to unlock the doors exactly when you reach it. NFC would most likely be the fall back and it would require taking the phone out of the pocket and tapping it to the car.
The UWB tech will also make it easier to locate your car in a parking lot, a very useful feature for those who tend to forget where they parked. Samsung is bringing an augmented reality-powered viewfinder to its UWB-equipped devices for this purpose. Samsung’s UWB-equipped phones include the Galaxy S21+ and Galaxy S21 Ultra, the Galaxy Z Fold 2 and the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.