HELLA launches digital car key with ultra-wideband technology

HELLA, the internationally positioned automotive supplier, is consolidating its market leading position in the field of sophisticated solutions for vehicle access with the HELLA Smart Car Access, which is based on ultra-wideband (UWB) technology, and will go into series production for the first time within the next two years.

This digital, smartphone-based car key not only offers the greatest possible convenience for the end user, as it enables completely hands-free vehicle access; it also meets the highest safety standards. The first customer to be supplied is an international car manufacturer.

With HELLA Smart Car Access, end users can lock and unlock their car 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, for car sharing services or for fleet providers for example. Personalised 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 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.”

In order to implement these Smart Car Access functions simply, reliably and safely, HELLA uses ultra-wideband technology. This 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.

HELLA successfully put UWB technology into series production in classic remote keys as far back as 2019. The ADAC (German Motoring Association) has highlighted the safety of HELLA technology in an independent test. According to the study, one high production volume vehicle of a German car manufacturer that HELLA equipped with a UWB-based remote key system, was the first vehicle ever in its class that could not be opened by remote extension in the test.

  • HELLA Smart Car Access offers the greatest possible convenience using completely hands-free, smartphone-based vehicle access
  • UWB-based system solution will go into series production within the next two years
  • Independent market test highlights safety of HELLA’s technology

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