In a Hyundai first, the company has released a digital car key app aptly called the Hyundai Digital Key in the Play Store. The app will allow owners to control their cars using an Android smartphone and share a virtual car key with up to four users, but it only supports the upcoming 2020 Hyundai Sonata sedan for now.
In order to use the Hyundai Digital Key to control the 2020 Sonata, you need an Android smartphone that supports both Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and NFC. With the app on the phone, the owner simply places the phone in front of the driver-side door handle to lock and unlock the vehicle via NFC. Once inside, the phone can be placed atop the wireless charging pad in the center console to start the engine, also facilitated by NFC. When standing within a 30-meter radius of the car, the BLE function is used to lock and unlock the vehicle, pop open the trunk, activate panic alerts, and start the engine.
Owners can create and share virtual car keys with up to four other drivers. Access to different levels of car functions can be tailored for each user, such as vehicle features (e.g., opening the trunk), driving time duration, and geofence alerts (when used together with the Blue Link app). The app is also smart enough to save each driver's custom preferences, such as seat position, side mirror position, radio presets, and audio settings. Naturally, the owner can revoke these virtual keys at any time. Although all of these functions are nice and useful, the app could surely use a more attractive layout and design. Hopefully, Hyundai can spruce things up a bit to bring it up to Tesla's level.
2020 Hyundai Sonata drivers are not required to use the Digital Key app. The car will come with physical keys as well as NFC cards, which are useful when using valet services. As for security, Hyundai has partnered up with Trustonic Application Protection (TAP) to secure both the car and the app with "multilayered" security.