Being that NFC (near field communication) is becoming more mainstream by the moment, placing NFC tags or chips in vehicles to store settings may not be too far in the future. NXP Semiconductors, based in the Netherlands, stated last week that they will be offering a lineup of automotive grade tags and chips. NXP is part of a budding connected-car industry, and the cars that will be using these NFC tags and chips would be available as early as 2016.
A lot of companies are pushing to get into the business, as its been reported by IHS that NFC technology will be included in 416 million handsets sold this year, with that number rising to 1.2 billion handsets in 2018. It only makes sense to include the smartphone in the automotive industry, especially if it aids in a handsfree situation, which will further aid in safety.
Drue Freeman, a senior vice president at NXP said, “The existing way of pairing a phone over Bluetooth is getting better and better, but it’s still a bit cumbersome.” But with the new chips, “you just tap it, and there you have it.” These chips are also capable of providing dozens of functions, rather than one. NXP is already one of the top providers of wireless chips and integrated circuits to the auto industry, for wireless key fobs.
These NFC tags and chips would be provided at reasonable cost for the vehicle; a couple of dollars a piece. However, if the manufacturer wanted to get creative with using them for multiple functions, like seat position or climate control, the cost would go up, depending on the computations necessary.
Of course the possibilities of NFC chips in cars aren’t just limited to changing your seat position or the climate control. Daimler has a Car2Go service, similar to BMW’s DriveNow program, where the door lock is an NFC tag, and the customer uses their NFC membership card to unlock the door. Think about using your cellphone to start your car. A whole new view of being “connected.”
Although, some cars are already equipped with the wireless protocol. Back in 2012, QNX, a subsidiary of BlackBerry Ltd, demonstrated connecting a mobile phone to a Porsche Carrera via NFC. Andrew Poliak, directory of business development at QNX, says that their operating system supports NFC on most smartphone platforms, including BlackBerry, iOS and Android.
Poliak says that car companies have become heavily invested in these technologies, and by making it possible to connect phone to car with a “touch,” it “could bump up the percentage of users that actually connect their phones with their vehicles.”
This is certainly something to look forward to, as NFC is pretty secure, as it would require someone being with you to intercept the communication between the phone and tag. Of course, if you lose your phone, you risk giving control of your car to the new owner of your phone, but there are plenty of tools to combat that.
Is this something you are looking forward to? Or is this too far fetched for you right now? Let us know in the comments where you stand on automaker technology, regarding self driving cars, all the way down to NFC tags.