VW Adopts UWB for Secure Car Access


Maik Rohde, head of body electronics at Volkswagen has stated earlier this year that the first car incorporating Ultra-Wideband (UWB) technology for theft protection would be shown at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2019 with production starting later this year ( Volkswagen presented their new electric car ID.3 at IAA Frankfurt. Volkswagen ID.3 was also on display at the car exhibition in Zurich (Auto Zürich 2019), so we went there to find out more. We managed to get a picture of the interior of the ID.3 car key and as can be seen below, the FCC ID is NBGFS19. Every device using radio frequency spectrum in the USA needs a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ID number. Based on this number, one can find the FCC report for the car key.

The FCC report confirms that the car key does indeed incorporate UWB. On page 9 of the report, it is stated that the key uses UWB impulse radio with Frequency Shift Keying (FSK) and an UWB pulse repetition of approx. 250 ns. This matches closely the IEEE 802.15.4z LRP physical layer. Secure ranging for keyless access control using LRP UWB was scientifically proven in multiple publications from the Institute of Information Security at ETH Zürich.

As a major contributor and promoter of the IEEE802.15.4z LRP standard, we are proud to see that the technology is now used in ultra-low power devices, like keyfobs, for secure access.