Car Connectivity Consortium to release specification for hands-free Bluetooth and ultra wideband digital keys

Car Connectivity Consortium digital key graphic
USER-FRIENDLY: Release 3.0 uses UWB for hands-free, location-aware keyless access for drivers

The Car Connectivity Consortium is to complete its specification for Bluetooth low energy (BLE) and ultra wideband (UWB) digital keys that enable drivers to unlock and start their vehicles without needing to take their mobile device out of their bag or pocket “by the middle of 2021”.

“The Digital Key Release 3.0 specification will complement the Release 2.0 specification, which leverages near field communication (NFC) technology for contactless communication between smartphones and vehicles,” the consortium explains.

“Release 3.0, through implementation of UWB connectivity, adds hands-free, location-aware keyless access and location-aware features for an improved user-friendly experience.

“It maintains support for NFC technology as a mandatory back-up solution.

“Digital Key Release 3.0 addresses security and usability by authenticating the digital key between a vehicle and the mobile device over Bluetooth low energy and then establishing a secure ranging session with UWB, which allows the vehicle to perform secure and accurate distance measurement to localise the mobile device.

“Mobile devices create and store the digital keys in secure elements that provide the highest level of protection against hardware or software-based attacks.

“The UWB exchange also generates critical cryptographic parameters in the secure elements to ensure the highest security in localising the device to the vehicle and thereby authorise the user to access and drive the vehicle.

“The Digital Key Release 3.0 specification will be made available to CCC members by the middle of 2021.”

Members of the consortium include vehicle manufacturers BMW, General Motors, Honda and Hyundai, smartphone makers Apple and Samsung, and technology firms such as NXP and STMicroelectronics.

An NFCW webinar with STMicroelectronics’ Rene Wutte explains the range of in-vehicle use cases for NFC technology and is available to watch in the NFCW Knowledge Centre.

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