Patent published on August 17, 2023

Say Goodbye to Car Keys: Huawei's HiCar Uses Your Mobile Device to Lock, Unlock, and Start Your Car


In an exciting development from Chinese tech giant Huawei Technologies Co., a newly published patent could revolutionize how we interact with our cars. Say goodbye to fumbling for car keys in your bag or pocket - soon, your mobile device might be all you need to lock, unlock, and start your car.

The recently filed patent, bearing the number US20230256937A1, lays out a vehicle control method for Huawei's HiCar system where your car interacts with your phone in unique ways. Think of it as your car having a friendly chat with your phone to unlock its features.

In its simplest form, you can command your car to perform functions such as unlocking, locking or ignition without using a physical key. However, the patent reveals that this advanced vehicle control method takes this concept a step further. It allows the car to understand where your mobile device is likely to go and can adjust its actions according to this information. For instance, if your mobile device is detected to be moving away from the car, it might trigger the car to lock itself for security.

These innovative arrangements come as an improvement to the currently prevalent Passive Entry Passive Start (PEPS) solution, where a user must carry a vehicle key that sends signals to a low-frequency antenna to unlock or ignite the vehicle. While there have been huge strides in making this process more convenient such as Tesla's Bluetooth key that can unlock and start a car, there are still problematic areas, such as the lack of assurance over security risks associated with the auto-lock function.

With Huawei's vehicle control method, these concerns are addressed. The patent details how the sophisticated technology could use Ultra-Wide-Band (UWB) connections alongside Bluetooth to improve on vehicle-user interactions while reducing unnecessary power consumption—providing a more secure and convenient experience for the user.

The diagrams provided with the patent filing visualize using mobile and vehicle-mounted devices to unlock a vehicle door through Bluetooth communication. Other conceivable operations, such as powering on and off an entire vehicle, starting and turning off the car engine, as well as controlling the air conditioner, hint at the extensive possibilities for this technology.

However, we invite readers to remember that this is still a patent application at this stage. While it brims with technological potential, it remains uncertain when or if this technology will find its way into future cars in the marketplace. As we have seen previously in the world of patents, it’s often a game of “wait and see”. For now though, we can dream about the day our phones become our car keys, leading us to a simpler, more convenient, and secure driving experience.

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