Nieke Roos
13 November 2019

NXP is expanding its ultra-wideband (UWB) portfolio with a new automotive IC. The chip can turn smartphones into car keys, offering the same level of convenience as state-of-the-art key fobs. Users can open and start their vehicles while leaving their phones in their pockets or bags and, in the future, enjoy secure remote parking. The new IC brings a maximum level of protection against car theft through relay attacks.

In conjunction with the launch of the chip, NXP announced that it’s working with BMW, Continental and others on UWB implementations through the Car Connectivity Consortium (CCC) and IEEE. They’re focusing on the intersection of the vehicle, mobile and consumer devices. The standardization efforts aim to enable a global standard for handsfree smart access and other automotive localization use cases based on UWB.

Credit: NXP

According to NXP, UWB provides precise, secure, real-time localization capabilities unrivaled by wireless alternatives such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS. It gives spatial awareness to vehicles, mobiles and other smart devices, enabling cars to know exactly where the users are. Beyond smart access and remote parking, NXP’s automotive UWB targets use cases such as short-range radar for life sign detection and easy trunk access, autonomous parking, autonomous positioning on vehicle chargers, localization for secure on-the-go payment and seamless access to garages and parking lots.

NXP is also working with Volkswagen on automotive applications of UWB. A couple of months ago, they unveiled a concept car showing some of the capabilities. Furthermore, NXP is co-founder of the Fira Consortium, a recently launched organization dedicated to developing UWB use cases, ensure UWB interoperability and promote UWB ecosystems.