Home NFC in 2011: Launch Driver-Friendly Mobile Apps Using Your Car Keys

NFC in 2011: Launch Driver-Friendly Mobile Apps Using Your Car Keys

NFC, or near field communication, is a term that’s often associated with mobile payments and mobile wallet applications this year, especially with new launches like Google Wallet and Visa’s digital wallet service underway. But NFC as a technology has more use cases than that.

One new example, which just debuted this week, is a chip that makes your car keys the jumping off point to access driver-friendly mobile apps. Just wave your phone over your keys to track down your car’s location, plan your route, diagnose that pesky “check engine” light and more.

This post is part of a series on NFC here on ReadWriteMobile which will serve to get you up to speed on what NFC is, what notable developments are underway and what commercial programs using NFC will arrive this year. You can follow this series by clicking the tag (or bookmarking the tag) “NFC 2011.”

This post assumes you are familiar with the term NFC as well as the technology’s use in mobile payments. If you’re just starting to learn about NFC, you should begin here with the first post in the series to get caught up.

From NXP Semiconductors, there comes this new “smart” key solution called KEyLink Lite, which includes five possible applications:

  • Car Finder: The key records the GPS coordinates of your car’s last parking position which can be read by an NFC-compliant mobile phone, then uses a mapping service like Google Maps to locate the car.
  • Route Planner: This service allows you to plan your route from a PC at home, then transfer it to your key via NFC. Once inside the ignition, the key uploads the info the car’s navigation system.
  • Car Status/Service Data Management: You can find out how much gas you have left, or check the date of your last oil change by waving your phone over your keys.
  • Car Self-Diagnosis: You can transfer diagnostic data from your car to the key, then to the PC where you can run it through a service website for an instant analysis
  • Car Personalization: Manufacturers can pre-fit cars with upgraded services which could later be unlocked in the field.

Of course, all this technology, while possible, won’t be available to end users until auto manufacturers build it into their keys and cars.

However, as NFCWorld notes, manufacturers have been showing an increasing interest in NFC lately, with NFC concept cars and key fobs, plus the creation of a new “car connectivity” consortium with founding members IDaimler, GM, Honda, Hyundai, Toyota and VW, among other things.

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