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Hyundai Considers Launching Wearable Car Keys by 2018

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【Summary】In the disruption of key fobs, Hyundai aims to lead the development of such gadgets through the release of a band-type smart key. The device is a bulky, dark band that doubles as a way to enter one’s vehicle and stay healthy (it comes with fitness tracking features).

Original Michael Cheng    Jan 06, 2017 6:08 AM PT
Hyundai Considers Launching Wearable Car Keys by 2018

From cutting-edge HUDs and AR technology to LIDAR sensors and cameras, automakers are upgrading almost every vehicular component they can think of, in a move to cater to tech-savvy consumers. Of course, not all upgrades are essential, as most are only minor enhancements of core features that have been around for decades, such as push-button switches and remote window controls via key fob.

In the disruption of key fobs, Hyundai aims to lead the development of such gadgets through the release of a band-type smart key. The device is a bulky, dark band that doubles as a way to enter one's vehicle and stay healthy (it comes with fitness tracking features). The company is planning to launch the unit by 2018 in South Korea.  

"Hyundai Motor's next-generation smart key to be introduced in Korea is expected to be an upgraded version of H-Band, with a watch function and improved design," explained Park Chang-young from Pulse.

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Combining Fitness and Cars

The smart band is not as discreet and compact as other key fob tools currently available in the market today. At the moment, no domestic car manufacturer in the country is using this type of vehicle entry system. The device offers an exclusive range of accessibility options for owners, allowing him or her to open car doors, as well as start the vehicle in a remote manner. As for the fitness tracking aspects of the unit, the gadget will also support real-time heartrate monitoring.

According to the Pulse reporter, the smart key is an upgrade of the H-band, which was released specifically for Hyundai's fleet of Verna Yuena family sedans. The company confirmed that sales for the device is strong, with sales volume jumping from 5,887 units to 15,422 units between October and November 2016.

"The sedan's latest convenience features, including band-type smart key H-Band, Apple CarPlay and Baidu CarLife, helped to boost its sales in China," said Chang-young.

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"No-key" Solutions

Hyundai's approach to streamlining access to private vehicles is still considered outdated, in that a physical "key" (in this case, a smart band) is needed for operation. In the future, automakers will move away from such traditional security methods and gravitate towards keyless solutions. An example of this type of technology is palm vein biometrics, which involves identifying patterns on one's palm (specifically visible veins) for authentication. At the moment, the financial technology sector is piloting this technology in various parts of the world, including South Korea through the Financial Services Commission (FSC). 

"Shockingly, palm vein authentication boasts a false rejection rate of 0.01 percent and false acceptance rate of less than 0.00008 percent," explained Michael Cheng in an article published in Payment Week.

Another "no-key" option for automakers to incorporate into their next-generation vehicles is iris recognition biometrics. This technology involves scanning a colored ring around the pupil of the car owner's eye. By comparison, the contactless authentication method has been around longer than palm vein biometrics. With accurate scanning capabilities between 10 cm and two meters, it also boasts low FAR (False Acceptance Rates) and FRR (False Rejection Rates).

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