NFC-Equipped Cars on the Horizon
People take their smart phones everywhere. Sometimes it can be challenging to move from one location to another while having to worry about charging the phone. It is especially difficult using smart phones in cars, since most people just want to get in their car, drive and go. Soon, however, there is going to be an easier way to integrate smart phones with cars. Someday, we will be able to automatically synch smart phones with cars using Near Field Communication (NFC) technology. Simply by dropping the smart phone into a designated area in the car’s dashboard, the smart phone will be able to communicate with the car. Drivers can get into their vehicle and drive off without plugging their phone in.
Philips & Lite-On Digital Solutions (PLDS) has teamed up with Stollmann and Funkwerk Dabendorf to develop this NFC system for cars. PLDS is an automative infotainment specialist; Stollman specializes in NFC, Bluetooth and ISDN software stacks; while Funkwerk Dabendorf is a popular developer of automotive mobile communication solutions. All three companies are known in the automotive infotainment industry.
“NFC is an essential transmission technology that is used in different industries and areas. The automotive industry uses NFC technology to open up towards other ecosystems. Nowadays, the user expects to use the smartphone with all its functionalities in the car as well – without complex integration processes” said Wenka Voss, International Marketing and Business Development Automotive at Stollmann.
The NFC system will be built into cars and combines universal antenna coupling, wireless charging, NFC and customized display of smart phone surface in the car’s head unit display. This will allow people to wirelessly charge their phones while they drive, get better signals and get clearer connections.
“It will be one of the biggest challenges for the future to enable people to easily handle the growing amount of functionalities of the smartphone in the car without intensive study of the manuals. Therefore, Near Field Communication (NFC) is crucial for the advancement of a system that covers the complete and future-proof integration of mobile phones in the vehicle.” said Nico Borm, Vice President of Sales & Marketing at Funkwerk Dabendorf GmbH.
The NFC system is designed as a phone box with a special tray to place the smart phone in. The phone box allows NFC phones to connect to the car’s head unit. The information from the mobile device can be shown on the main vehicle display. Standard phone functions such as phone book, text messaging and more can be used. The driver can also integrate vehicle specific information such as seat and mirror preferences, radio station settings and more. This is perfect for fleet vehicles or other shared cars.
“In the future, along with well-established mobile phone functions such as telephone book or text messages it will be possible to transmit personalised information about the driver such as radio station, seat and mirror pre-settings,” said the partners.
The NFC also includes support for the Qi wireless charging standard which is the standard of the Wireless Power Consortium. This ensures versatile use of the technology and 100 percent compatibility with different devices and vehicles.
One of the goals of the partnership is seamless integration of the smart phone into cars. “We will ensure complete compatibility with all recent and future smartphones and optimal adaption of the integrated functionalities towards the specific needs of the driver” said Stefan Graf, Director Marketing & New Technologies at PLDS.
“The cooperation between our companies realizes the idea of a complete integration of the smartphone world into the automotive world,” continued Borm.
The NFC solution was unveiled on October 10 to 12, 2012 at the IZB automotive trade show in Wolfsburg, Germany.
About Philips & Lite-On Digital Solutions
Philips & Lite-On Digital Solutions (http://www.pldsnet.com/) is a joint venture of Lite-On IT Corporation and Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V. It develops Optical Disc Drive (ODD) products for automotive infotainment products, personal computer applications and game consoles. The firm was established in March 2007 and is based in Taipei, Taiwan.
Stollman (http://www.stollmann.de) specializes in communication, wireless technology and protocol stacks for NFC, Bluetooth, ISDN and call manager software. The company also distributes software stacks, reference designs and hardware products to OEM (original equipment manufacturer) customers all over the world. Stollman also collaborates with smart phone producers and chip manufacturers in automotive, medical and POS (point of sale) industries. They have an annual turnover of €11.3 m in 2011 and have around 50 employees. They were founded in Hamburg, Germany in 1994.
About Funkwerk Dabendorf
Funkwerk Dabendorf (http://www.fwd-online.de/) creates advanced communication technologies for vehicles. It mass produces mobile communication solutions using radio frequency technology and connectivity. The company specializes in solutions for telematics, multimedia, mobile communication and infotainment in the vehicle and espouses the idea of the “connected car.”
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