Samsung adds support for UWB and NFC digital car keys

Samsung UWB and NFC digital car keys
DIGITAL KEY: Galaxy S21 owners will be able to use their smartphone to unlock a range of cars via UWB or NFC

Owners of Samsung Galaxy S21 series smartphones who take delivery of future models of Audi, BMW, Ford and Genesis vehicles will be able to use their mobile device as a digital key to unlock their vehicle using either ultra wideband (UWB) or NFC technology.

On UWB-enabled Galaxy S21+ and Galaxy S21 Ultra devices, the digital key will allow drivers to locate their compatible car from a distance of 100 feet (30.5m) using an augmented reality view on their device and unlock the door as they are approaching it “without pulling out your keys”.

Owners of Galaxy S21 devices that do not support UWB will be able to use the digital key to tap to open their car door using the smartphone’s NFC functionality.

Users wanting to let friends or colleagues access their vehicle will “also be able to share your digital key across smartphones, regardless of brand or platform,” Samsung says.

Samsung revealed that it is working with Audi, BMW, Ford and Genesis to develop the digital key for use with the car makers’ vehicles at its recent Unpacked event.

The UWB-enabled version of the digital key will be “compatible with select future 2022 car models,” the company says.

It launched the first Android device to include a UWB chip, the Galaxy Note20 Ultra, in August 2020.

BMW has also announced that it is adding UWB to its Digital Key Plus for iPhone users with the release of its iX electric car later this year.

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