UWB: Samsung and Apple have been quietly playing their roles to new technology to find and seamlessly unlock your car with your smart phone, without even pulling it out of your pocket and Tesla may actually be one of the first with the technology.
Currently, Tesla is presently working on building UWB into its cars, in accordance with documents filed with the Federal Communications Commission.
On the 9th day, of September, the company submitted 6 new “products” for the FCC’s consideration, these include two key fobs, a security controller, and a number of “endpoints” that could probably be installed inside the frame and cabin of a vehicle.
In regards to the FCC documents, at least three of those products explicitly support UWB communication.
Therefore, Tesla’s FCC filing is unusual in that it includes a complete operational description of the technology, something that is actually redacted.
This is actually a based implementation of UWB, which means UWB phones from Apple and Samsung could theoretically be aligned, and it’s designed to let you know how far away you are from the car.
This “ranging” is actually helpful to avoid replay attacks that try to make your car into thinking its key fob is closer than it actually is.
Most times, it actually theoretically unlocks the ability to find your car in a crowded parking lot using your phone, something Samsung is already planning to release an app for later this year.
A complete choosing from Tesla’s operational description of the tech.
While I actually spoke to UWB chip supplier NXP last year, company CTO Lars Reger shared to me that future cars would likely need several of these UWB endpoints inside the car, if possible at the door handles, to properly triangulate your location and know whether you’re inside or outside so, say, your kids will not be able to turn on the engine if you’re not actually in the cabin.
Seemingly, Tesla thinks the B-pillars (located between the front and rear side windows of a car) and a piece of fascia could actually be good places to put those antennas, too.
This drawing of the inside of one of the UWB key fobs.
This doesn’t mean that Tesla will necessarily attach the tech to its cars, but FCC documents are actually a pretty good sign that it’s not just an experiment.
FCC filings are actually one of the last waypoints before a product comes to market, as they’re only required if you’re going to import, sell, or do widespread testing of a radio product in the US.
Lastly, BMW was the only other automaker that’s committed to UWB.