Issue: Apr 2010


New Key Fob Technology Helps Make Smart Phone Connectivity Available at Low Cost



Vehicle Manufacturers Meet Regional Needs With Bluetooth- and Near Field Communication-Enabled Smart Key Fobs

by John Larkin

Delphi Corp.'s new key fob technology and custom applications are offering drivers a myriad of important vehicle information delivered to their smart phones. The technology lets drivers know when to refuel or get an oil change. It can even provide a vehicle's location.

According to USA Today, when Apple's app store opened two years ago, 100,000 apps were available. Since then, more than 2 billion have been downloaded and the app economy is continuing to grow. Twenty-five percent of cell phone users in Western Europe and North America utilize smart phones today, and Strategy Analytics predicts the number will grow to 45 percent by 2014.

Delphi's key fob technology is providing low-cost smart phone connectivity using both Bluetooth and Near Field Communication (NFC) platforms. The company's key fob designs and custom apps enable information exchange between drivers and their vehicles that is continual, reliable and convenient while giving vehicle manufacturers the ability to meet the specific information needs of different global markets.

"Delphi is committed to developing innovative products that are easy to use and provide exceptional value to our customers," said Beth Schwarting, general director, Electronic Controls, Delphi Electronics & Safety. "Our new generation of fobs offers features that are not currently available in the market. These features help vehicle manufacturers competitively differentiate their models, as well as provide drivers and fleet owners constant access to important vehicle information."

Smart Phone Connectivity via Bluetooth Gateway Key Fob
Using a custom phone app with Delphi's advanced key fob technology, medium-range connectivity (650 feet/200 meters or more) can now be made available to consumers without subscription fees, cellular network delays or coverage gaps. Delphi's Bluetooth Gateway Key Fob allows users to view important vehicle information and complete often-performed tasks remotely on their smart phone or similar device.

"From receiving security and diagnostic alerts to checking a vehicle's eco-score, our technology allows drivers to monitor vehicle statistics from their smart phone via Delphi's key fob," Schwarting said. "Drivers no longer need to be inside their vehicles or have an internet connection to get updates on vehicle status."

A useful complement to embedded telematics/phone app solutions when a driver is out of cellular range, the system is made up of highly reconfigurable electronics and offers a remote user interface that is intuitive and user-friendly. It is also of benefit with connected telematics solutions when a driver is out of a vehicle's Bluetooth range.

Smart Fob Enabled by Near Field Communication
Delphi also offers a Smart Key Fob that uses NFC to provide drivers direct accessibility to vehicle information while helping to ensure the security of data exchange. The NFC wireless standard, a read/write technology, offers both secure information transfer and a low power consumption mode. Its low-range communication profile -- only 2 inches (5 cm) -- helps prevent hacking while its low consumption mode helps ensure durability and reliability.

Data exchange is made possible using an NFC module integrated in the vehicle. The system antenna enables data transfer from the vehicle to the key fob, and the transferred information can be accessed by the driver via any NFC-compatible portable device that has an active display such as a smart phone. Data that can be accessed and managed includes mileage and fuel level, safety and security information (such as tire pressure), maintenance warnings and alerts, personalization features (seat, steering wheel, A/C configuration), vehicle location (GPS), driver identity, In-Case-of-Emergency (ICE) contacts and vehicle type.

Meeting Growing Market Needs
Delphi's smart fob technology will be even more valuable as the market for hybrid and electric vehicles grows. With these fobs, drivers will be able to enhance their awareness of energy and fuel consumption and manage them more effectively and in an environmentally friendly way.

"From the differentiation Delphi's smart fob technology offers vehicle manufacturers, to the safety, security and convenience it provides drivers to cost savings and efficiency for fleet owners, Delphi's smart fob technology offers nearly limitless connectivity applications for drivers to stay in touch with their vehicles," said Schwarting.

About Delphi
Delphi is a leading global supplier of electronics and technologies for automotive, commercial vehicle and other market segments. Operating major technical centers, manufacturing sites and customer support facilities in 30 countries, Delphi delivers real-world innovations that make products smarter and safer as well as more powerful and efficient. Connect to innovation at www.delphi.com.

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