Car Connectivity Consortium Group Expanding

Published: December 4, 2023

FiRa Consortium and RF-star to work with CCC on digital key standards

Car Connectivity Consortium (CCC) recently announced two agreements to further its goal to leverage Bluetooth, ultra-wideband (UWB) and near field communication (NFC) for the auto industry.

The first was made public on Nov. 16. when the CCC and the FiRa Consortium formed the Joint Ultra-wideband MAC PHY Working Group (JUMPWG) aimed at developing and maintaining the UWB technology specifications used in the CCC Digital Key.

The working group is part of the CCC’s effort to develop industry standards for solutions to address the future of vehicle-to-smart device connectivity. Its membership includes auto and electronics manufacturers, and will be led by chair Jinjing Jiang, from CCC member company Apple.

FiRa Addition

FiRa is a UWB-focused, non-profit organization promoting use of the wireless technology for a variety of applications including automotive. In fact, the 802.15.4 UWB standard is in use for accessing vehicles as well as finding missing items, and real-time locating systems (RTLS).

“We’re excited to collaborate to advance the development of UWB as it is the most effective available technology for delivering accurate ranging and positioning in challenging real-world environments,” said FiRa Consortium’s Board Chair Clint Chaplin.

“Including UWB in the CCC Digital Key is an essential layer of technology with real-world applications, making it highly convenient for consumers to consistently access their vehicles using their smart devices,” Chaplin said.

Digital Key Progress

The collaboration between the two consortia is critical for maturing UWB in the CCC Digital Key, according to CCC President Alysia Johnson.

“As the underlying IEEE 802.15.4 standards evolve, this new working group will ensure long-term interoperability and scalability of the advanced UWB technology developed for the CCC Digital Key, encouraging broader adoption of UWB technology for secure and accurate ranging for vehicle access,” said Johnson.

The CCC Digital Key uses NFC technology and UWB technology combined with BLE. UWB in the CCC Digital Key uses secure distance bounding with cryptographically secured Time-of-Flight (ToF) measurements. These measurements, which are taken between the device and transceivers in vehicles, help localize the device to the vehicle and determine whether the device is in close enough proximity to provide vehicle access or to drive the vehicle.

RF-star Collaboration

In a separate announcement, technology company RF-star joined CCC on Oct. 21 as part of an effort to expand development of digital keys leveraging UWB and NFC for the auto industry.

RF-star provides wireless IT products leveraging Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), UWB, NFC, Zigbee, Matter, Thread and Wi-Sun. Recently, it has been developing a set of automotive digital key solutions that use a combination of UWB, BLE and NFC to access cars or trucks.

The CCC released its latest digital key version 3 V.1.1 in 2022 which adds UWB in combination with BLE and NFC to enable drivers to access vehicles with their smartphones. RF-star reports that its expertise in BLE, as well as UWB and NFC, will further enhance development of vehicle access technology.

The implementation of the CCC digital key enabling vehicle-to-device connectivity is imperative, according to King Kang, CEO of RF-star.

“It is a great honor to be a member of the CCC at this time and participate in the innovation of this wireless connectivity,” stated Kang. “RF-star will propel unceasingly the development of the Internet of Vehicles industry and jointly build UWB ecosystem with global leading RF chipsets, carmakers and device manufacturers.”