For years, Texas Instruments has helped pioneer the transition to integrated circuits (ICs), advancing IC technology, and building on the innovation of each generation to make the technology smaller, more efficient, more reliable, more affordable, and making it possible for semiconductors to go into electronics everywhere.
At the forefront of Bluetooth® digital key adoption, Ram Vedantham, business line manager for 2.4 GHz wireless connectivity at Texas Instruments, recently had an opportunity to share some insight into why Texas Instruments is using Bluetooth technology to support their latest digital key innovations.
Q&A with Ram Vedantham, Business Line Manager at Texas Instruments
Bluetooth® technology enables low-cost and low-power solutions, which allows developers to combine multiple different design requirements…on a single device.
Why have you chosen to use Bluetooth® technology to enable your digital key and access control solutions?
We selected Bluetooth® Low Energy (LE) for digital key and access control solutions because the technology is available in a wide range of devices from smartphones to automobiles worldwide. Bluetooth technology enables low-cost and low-power solutions which allows developers to combine multiple different design requirements, like data communication and proximity detection, on a single device.
Using a digital key with Bluetooth LE for communication and ranging, tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS), wireless cable replacement, and the forthcoming Bluetooth LE Audio are some of the many new applications in the automotive space. TI technology, with innovations such as a connection monitor, has enabled phone-as-a-key (PaaK) solutions using the received signal strength indicator (RSSI) and direction finding features in the Bluetooth specification.
What are the advantages of using a smartphone as a digital key?
The main benefit of a digital key is the convenience of technology consolidation in a single device — the smartphone and the ecosystem and adoption rate that comes along with it. This enables hands-free access and remote key sharing with the flexibility to manage privileges for users on a particular device. This flexibility is shown through a key provision using the cloud by specific users for a limited duration in use cases like rental cars. In addition, the key benefit Bluetooth® technology provides for digital key and access control is the wide adoption of Bluetooth LE on smartphones.
What are the core requirements for a good PaaK implementation and are they secure?
The core requirements for digital key implementation are security, low cost, robust interoperability across a wide range of devices and vehicles, flexibility to adapt to different use cases, and compliance with worldwide standards and regulations.
Security is dependent on the system architecture and implementation. The security of digital keys is dependent on many factors, such as features in physical layer (PHY) implementation for secure ranging, cryptographic security in the software stack, and hardware architecture of the devices that manage the keys used for secure transactions. Security is a function of digital keys based on how these factors are combined to effectively address malicious attacks at the network level or device level. Though it is implementation dependent, Bluetooth technology provides the security features and options that enable secure solutions, including the digital key.