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HELLA launches digital car key


Hella is claiming a breakthrough in the field of solutions for vehicle access. Ultra-wideband tech promises hands-free access and engine start.


Hella says its Smart Car Access system, which is based on ultra-wideband (UWB) technology, will go into series production for the first time within the next two years. This digital, smartphone-based car key enables completely hands-free vehicle access; it also meets the highest safety standards, Hella says. The first to be supplied is an ‘international car manufacturer’.


With Hella Smart Car Access, end users can lock and unlock their cars completely hands-free and can also start the engine without having to pick up a classic remote key or a smartphone. From a distance of 50 metres, the mobile device is automatically detected and recognised by the vehicle. As soon as the driver approaches within two metres of the car, it is unlocked. However, the engine itself can only be started when the smartphone is inside the vehicle.


At the same time, access authorisations to the vehicle can be digitally managed and shared on the basis of the Hella Smart Car Access system, e.g. for car sharing services or for fleet providers. Personalisable information can also be stored in the smartphone to activate additional comfort or individualisation features, such as functions enabling welcome or interior lighting.


“Hella manufactures around 25 million classic remote keys per year for a large number of reputable car manufacturers worldwide. That means that we already hold a leading position in this market field,” says Björn Twiehaus, the Hella Managing Director responsible for the Electronics division. “Building on our strong technology base, we are now taking the next step with our smartphone-based Smart Car Access by making vehicle access even smarter, more comfortable and more secure, thus taking it to a new level.”


Hella says ultra-wideband (radio) technology for near-field communication is used as standard in new smartphones. It is characterised by highly precise, centimetre-accurate locating and, furthermore, it prevents the danger of relay attacks, i.e. the unauthorised opening of a vehicle by remote extension. At the same time, the technology ensures that Hella’s system solution does not necessarily require an app and that it continues to function even in situations without a network or internet connection. The system solution is compatible with both Android and iOS operating systems.

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