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NXP Seeks to Drive NFC Phone App Use in Cars

The semiconductor company says its new controller is the first in a portfolio of products aimed at helping app developers and automakers bring NFC-activated features and functions to the automotive market.
By Claire Swedberg
Nov 05, 2014

Automakers have begun sampling a new radio frequency identification product from NXP Semiconductors that enables "connected car" applications that could integrate a driver's cell phone with a vehicle's operation. Last week, the company announced the launch of its new automotive portfolio, beginning with its NCF3340 Near Field Communication (NFC) controller. The NCF3340, which consists of a high-frequency (HF) RFID reader chip that interfaces with a vehicle's controls and other electronic components, meets the Automotive Electronics Council's Q100 Grade 3 requirements for operation across the full temperature range experienced by an automobile.

While car companies are currently testing the technology, none are yet willing to be named, says Drue Freeman, NXP's senior VP of global automotive sales and marketing.

The NCF3340 Near Field Communication controller
NXP's NFC automotive portfolio is intended to enable NFC-supported smartphones and tablets to adjust vehicle controls, such as locks and ignition switches, or to access payment applications—used by car rental agencies, for instance—to help manufacturers more quickly bring new NFC-based applications to their new vehicles. The NCF3340 accomplishes this goal by using an NFC Controller Interface (NCI) protocol to communicate with the vehicle's controls.

"With recent announcements in the consumer and mobile domains, we see the momentum around NFC really accelerating," Freeman says, referring to several new products that his company recently introduced, including its PN66T module for NFC mobile payment, access control and transit transactions. "The automotive industry will be a big part of this growth, and NXP is in the forefront of the rapidly evolving connected car. The company aims to transform the car into a safer, more efficient, more productive and more enjoyable mode of transportation."

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