NXP’s ultra-wideband tech makes cars more secure and convenient


Traditionally, consumers have viewed their vehicles as analog transports that should take them from place to place quickly and reliably. But a generation raised on omni-functional smartphones has different priorities. For young professionals, cars must be more than just conveyances; they need to be secure and convenient connected spaces.

Chipmaker NXP Semiconductors is developing the Internet of Things ultra-wideband (UWB) technology that will make the next generation of smart cars as protected and intuitive as high-end handsets or smart home equipment.

What Is Ultra-Wideband Technology?

For the uninitiated, UWB is a secure short-range, high-bandwidth, and low-power radio communication protocol. Similar to Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, UWB allows for low interference data transmission and precise distance measuring. Apple included UWB chips in its iPhone 11 range to help users locate the handsets and perform secure AirDrops.

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The technology has a host of applications in a variety of different industries. For instance, NXP is using UWB to revolutionize how people interact with their automobiles. The company makes a host of components that allow smart cars to drive more safely and anticipate their maintenance needs. The corporation is also working on ways to create tomorrow’s vehicles more secure and functional.

More Secure, Comfortable, and Convenient Cars

Recently, NXP collaborated with Volkswagen on a concept car that highlights the ways UWB can improve vehicle security and utility.

For instance, UWB-enabled key fobs can provide vehicle owners with the peace of mind that comes with two-factor authentication. Next-generation cars will be able to detect the consumer’s entry device as they approach the vehicle. Then, the user can perform a specific motion, say tapping their toes that verifies their identity, and grants them access.

Notably, NXP’s UWB components and applications are specifically designed to prevent relay attacks. In 2016, Wired reported thieves found a way to subvert keyless entry systems for 24 different cars made by 19 different manufacturers. But UWB’s two-factor authentication protects owners from cybercriminals.

Basically, UWB key fobs act as a car owner’s personal Baby Yodas.

Cars with UWB chips are also more functional than their predecessors. With a few toe taps, an owner can tell their vehicle to pop the trunk. Besides, future transports will deploy their trailer hitches when they detect a trailer being moved into position.

NXP’s tech doesn’t just provide enhanced exterior features. Smart cars equipped with the firm’s cabin sensors will know if they’ve correctly set up a child’s car seat before they drive off.

NXP UWB components currently empower automakers to offer those above-listed enhance security and convenience features. As technology becomes more ubiquitous, it will allow smart cars to do things that will make Elon Musk’s jaw drop.

As an example, the technology will also facilitate a range of car-to-building transmissions that will make driving much more relaxed. Imagine a car that opens gates to restricted areas, automatically pays for parking and opens the garage door when the driver gets home.

Click here to learn more about NXP’s smart car evolving UWB technology.