Many people have replaced their Starbucks cards, for example, with a mobile app that offers even more functionality. You might already be using NFC on your smartphone to replace some credit cards, but what if you could replace your car keys too? Hyundai wants to make that happen. When you think about it, this really makes a lot of sense. So many cars have push-to-start these days where the actual physical key doesn’t really matter all that much. All you need is something that can provide the appropriate signal and the NFC technology in compatible smartphones sounds like a perfect fit. Hyundai is aiming to replace traditional car keys with NFC-based apps by 2015. This wireless technology is likely an option, as some people will still want regular keys, but it is certainly intriguing.
But it’s not just about unlocking your doors and starting the engine. Hyundai wants to make it possible to set specific user profiles based on which smartphone is being used. In addition to opening the door, it might automatically set your seating and mirror positions, for example, and automatically switch to your favorite satellite radio station. And the cars would likely have an inductive charging plate to provide power to your mobile devices too.
I like it. There are already smartphone apps to work with compatible “smart” door locks, apps to pay for things, and apps to replace customer loyalty cards. It’s only a matter of time before we abandon traditional keys and wallets in favor of an all smartphone lifestyle.