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A Smartphone App as Digital Key for the 2020 Hyundai Sonata

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Hyundai will make the official presentation of the next-generation 2020 Sonata next week at the New York auto show, and the company has dutifully been dropping little teasers ahead of the full reveal.

The newest tidbit the automaker gave us has to do with a smartphone app that will debut with the model. This app serves as a digital key for the car, so that it allows owners to unlock and operate their vehicle without a physical key, as long as they have their phone with them. The system uses near-field communication (NFC), a high-frequency, short-distance technology. The phone app communicates with the car via an antenna placed in the driver’s-side door handle.

A second NFC antenna is located inside, in the centre console’s wireless charging pad.

The system has a number of functions, including allowing the driver to access the vehicle, start the engine and drive the vehicle without the use of any conventional key or fob.

Photo: Hyundai

The phone app is functional from a distance of up to 10 metres (30 ft), so you get Bluetooth connectivity and you can lock or unlock the car or start the engine while standing a few feet away.

One interesting feature of the system is that it this digital key can be configured for up to four people. This can make life much easier for people in the same family sharing a car, for example, or, eventually, businesses for their delivery vehicles. The system even registers each user’s preferred settings for the seat and the side-view mirrors, for example, and adjusts them when that user approaches to make use of the vehicle.

Hyundai is going to make a detailed presentation of the system at the New York show, and we’ll be hand for it. Stay tuned!