A leaked FCC Document has quite possibly revealed that Tesla’s next cars will support Ultra-Wideband, a technology that’s built into the latest iPhones and in vehicles, allows for greater accuracy when unlocking a car with a smartphone.
First reported by The Verge, the copy of the FCC document attached was dated September 9th, wherein the company submitted six new “products” for the FCC’s consideration, including two key fobs, a security controller, and a number of “endpoints” that would be installed inside the frame and cabin of a vehicle. According to the FCC documents, at least three of those products explicitly support UWB communication.
Similar technologies have also already been used by other automakers like BMW, who in January said that it is working on Digital Key Plus, a new Ultra Wideband version of the Apple Car Keys feature that is designed to allow drivers to unlock and start their vehicles without removing their iPhone from their pocket or bag. BMW’s Ultra-Wideband technology will be built into the iX electric vehicle set to launch in Europe in late 2021 and in North America in early 2022.
The document also elaborates on the technology, stating that it’s a standards-based implementation of UWB, which means UWB phones from Apple and Samsung should theoretically be compatible, and it’s designed to let you know how far away you are from the car.
Given that Tesla is using a standards-based implementation of Ultra-Wideband, it should be compatible with the iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 models that support the technology. Apple’s iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 devices are equipped with a U1 chip that supports Ultra-Wideband technology for improved spatial awareness and indoor location detection. Apple has likened Ultra Wideband to “GPS at the scale of the living room,” and it is designed for accurate close proximity tracking.
According to the FCC document, Tesla’s Ultra Wideband feature will more accurately determine how far a person is from their car for unlocking and activation purposes, and Tesla describes it as more secure. If the leak proved to be true, will include several Ultra Wideband endpoints in the vehicle for proper location triangulation and to determine whether a person is inside or outside of the car, and these will likely be able to interface with Apple’s iPhones as well as those from Samsung.