Tesla's Next Car Could Support Ultra Wideband Unlocking With iPhone

A leaked Tesla FCC document shared by The Verge suggests 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.

tesla app android
Tesla in September submitted documentation on new key fobs, a controller, and endpoints that would be installed inside the frame and cabin of a vehicle, some of which support Ultra Wideband communication. Tesla is using a standards-based implementation of Ultra Wideband, so it should be compatible with the iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 models that support the technology if it ultimately ends up in Tesla vehicles.

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.

Right now, Apple is using the U1 chip for a directional AirDrop feature and to interact with the U1-equipped HomePod mini for handing off songs, but it otherwise doesn't do much. In the future, Apple is expected to use the U1 chip for AirTags, and it also has applications like integration with vehicles.

There's no explicit word that Tesla's Ultra Wideband implementation will work with the iPhone, but Tesla already has an iPhone app that allows Tesla owners to lock and unlock their cars, among other features. 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.

Future Tesla vehicles 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.

Other vehicle manufacturers are also working on Ultra Wideband technology that will work with the ‌iPhone 11‌ and ‌iPhone 12‌ models. In January, BMW 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.

Top Rated Comments

crisss1205 Avatar
18 months ago

perfect.

for now though, hope they bring carkey support to my current model 3.

I just want Apple CarKey in the new Teslas.
Just curious, why would you want the current CarKey implementation? Right now you can just walk up to the car with your phone in your pocket or bag and just get in and drive. Why would you want to have to take out your phone, tap the door, then get in the car and tap your phone on the console to drive away. That seems like a step backwards in tech.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
farewelwilliams Avatar
18 months ago

Just curious, why would you want the current CarKey implementation? Right now you can just walk up to the car with your phone in your pocket or bag and just get in and drive. Why would you want to have to take out your phone, tap the door, then get in the car and tap your phone on the console to drive away. That seems like a step backwards in tech.
It doesn't work all the time.


3 scenarios:

One time I parked on the street for a quick coffee run. I ran back to my car and my doors wouldn't unlock. I had to pull out my phone, unlock my phone (typing in my pin because Face ID won't recognize with my mask on), find Tesla, launch the app, and press unlock.
With CarKey, I can just wave my Apple Watch at the door and it'll unlock.

Second scenario: my phone is next to my window. My car is very close to the window. My brother was able to unlock my trunk without me knowing. If he can unlock my trunk because my phone is close, who knows who might try to drive off with my car while I sleep.
CarKey can make this safer.

Third scenario: my gym bag was once stolen which had my phone and wallet. Can't unlock my car without my phone or backup car key. However, I had my Apple Watch still. I could have unlocked with CarKey.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
farewelwilliams Avatar
18 months ago

Let’s hope they fix the frozen door handles or this won’t matter.
not specific to Tesla anyways.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Mad Mac Maniac Avatar
18 months ago
Latest Apple Watch also has U1. Another bonus.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
crisss1205 Avatar
18 months ago

Do they even support CarPlay yet? Baby steps....
They probably won't. Plus, the Tesla infotainment system is really good, I don't see that many advantages that CarPlay would have.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ignatius345 Avatar
18 months ago
I was driving on a section of highway 1 in Northern California one time and came across a guy in a Tesla who was totally locked out. He'd gotten out of the car without his key or fob or whatever and it had automatically locked at some point, he said. The spot had really spotty cell service and while he could make a call (barely) the car couldn't get enough of a signal to be unlocked remotely. I guess anyone could lock themselves out of any car, but it really seemed like the car had outsmarted him.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

bmw car key photo

Apple's Digital Car Key Feature Set to Gain U1 Ultra Wideband Support With Mid-2021 Spec Update

Tuesday April 20, 2021 7:06 am PDT by
The Car Connectivity Consortium today announced that its Digital Key 3.0 specification with support for Ultra Wideband and Bluetooth LE connectivity will be made available to members like Apple by the middle of 2021. At WWDC 2020, Apple introduced a new NFC-based digital Car Key feature that allows users to unlock and start their vehicle by holding a compatible iPhone or Apple Watch near...
maxresdefault

M1 Ultra Mac Studio vs. M1 Max MacBook Pro

Friday March 25, 2022 2:28 pm PDT by
If you've been wondering how the top-end Mac Studio compares to the highest-end MacBook Pro, look no further, because we have a real-world usage comparison that doesn't rely solely on benchmarks. Over on YouTube, MacRumors videographer Dan tested both machines with his real world workflow. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Dan has been using the M1 Max MacBook Pro to ...
vanarama apple car concept

British Car Leasing Company Creates 'Apple Car' 3D Render Based on Patents

Friday December 10, 2021 4:29 am PST by
British vehicle leasing company Vanarama has taken a stab at imagining what the first Apple Car could look like, taking inspiration from iPhones, MacBooks, and other Apple products, and combining them with real Apple patents to come up with a 3D concept render that can be explored inside and out. Given that Apple remains tight-lipped about its electric self-driving car plans, the concept is ...
bmw car key photo

Apple's Digital Car Key Feature Will Soon Work With Your iPhone in Your Pocket

Tuesday July 13, 2021 8:13 am PDT by
The Car Connectivity Consortium today announced that its Digital Key 3.0 specification with support for Ultra Wideband and Bluetooth LE connectivity is finalized and now available to members, including Apple. In 2020, Apple introduced a digital car key feature that allows users to unlock and start a compatible vehicle by holding an iPhone or Apple Watch near the driver-side door. The feature ...
bmw car key photo

iPhone's Car Key Feature Now Supports Select 2022 Genesis and Kia Vehicles [Updated]

Wednesday March 23, 2022 9:03 am PDT by
In 2020, Apple introduced a digital car key feature that allows users to unlock and start a compatible vehicle by bringing an iPhone or Apple Watch near the driver-side door. The feature has been limited to select BMW models since launching. According to Apple, the feature has now expanded to select 2022 vehicle models from Genesis and Kia, which are both divisions of Korean automaker...
m1 ultra performance chart

M1 Ultra Doesn't Beat Out Nvidia's RTX 3090 GPU Despite Apple's Charts

Thursday March 17, 2022 1:17 pm PDT by
Despite Apple's claims and charts, the new M1 Ultra chip is not able to outperform Nvidia's RTX 3090 in terms of raw GPU performance, according to benchmark testing performed by The Verge. When the M1 Ultra was introduced, Apple shared a chart that had the new chip winning out over the "highest-end discrete GPU" in "relative performance," without details on what tests were run to achieve...
precision finding airtag design session

Ultra Wideband Availability Expands to Argentina, Paraguay, and More

Tuesday July 20, 2021 12:35 pm PDT by
The Ultra Wideband functionality that's available in the Apple Watch Series 6, iPhone 11, and iPhone 12 models is now accessible in additional countries, including Argentina, Pakistan, Paraguay, and the Solomon Islands, according to Apple's updated support page. Apple is not allowed to activate Ultra Wideband technology in some countries due to international regulatory requirements, and it...
mac studio ultra performance gpu

M1 Ultra CPU is 60% Faster Than 28-core Mac Pro, GPU is 80% Faster Than Highest-End Radeon Pro W6900X Graphics Card

Tuesday March 8, 2022 1:46 pm PST by
The newly announced M1 Ultra is now Apple's fastest Apple silicon chip, unseating the M1 Max as the top-of-the-line option. With the power of the updated chip, the new Mac Studio is able to outperform not only the high-end prior-generation 27-inch iMac, but also the top-of-the-line 28-core Mac Pro. The M1 Ultra chip offers a 20-core CPU with 16 high-performance cores and 4 high-efficiency...

Popular Stories

2022 back to school apple

Apple Launches 2022 Back to School Offer: Up to $150 Gift Card With Mac or iPad

Friday June 24, 2022 5:08 am PDT by
Apple today launched its annual "Back to School" promotion for college/university students in the United States and Canada. This year's promotion offers a free Apple gift card with the purchase of an eligible Mac or iPad, rather than free AirPods like last year. Apple is also offering students 20% off AppleCare+ plans during the promotion. Apple is offering a $150 gift card with the purchase ...
apple ar headset concept 2

Apple CEO Tim Cook Hints at AR/VR Headset: 'Stay Tuned and You'll See What We Have to Offer'

Wednesday June 22, 2022 6:34 pm PDT by
CEO Tim Cook this week did an interview with China Daily, where he once again commented on on the future of augmented reality and hinted at Apple's work on an AR/VR headset. Render via designer Ian Zelbo Cook said that Apple is excited about the opportunities available with augmented reality, which is not too far off from prior comments that he's made, but he went on to say that people should ...
airpods pro 2 1

AirPods Pro 2 Said to Feature Upgraded H1 Chip, Find My, Heart Rate Detection, USB-C and More

Friday June 24, 2022 9:48 am PDT by
The next-generation AirPods Pro could come with a long list of new features that include heart rate detection, the ability to function as a hearing aid, and a USB-C port according to a report from 52Audio. The site claims that it has received new information on the AirPods Pro 2, and it has used that information to provide some renders on what the earbuds might look like. Design wise, there...
customize wallpaper setting ios 16

iOS 16 Beta 2 Tidbits: New Wallpaper Colors, Backup Over LTE, SMS Filtering and More

Wednesday June 22, 2022 2:16 pm PDT by
Apple today seeded the second betas of iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 to developers for testing purposes, and the new betas introduce new features and refine some of the changes that Apple made with the first iOS 16 release. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Lock Screen Photo Wallpaper Customization When customizing a photo on the Lock Screen, there are two new DuoTone and...
home app ios 16

Apple Confirms iPad Will No Longer Be Supported as a Home Hub in iOS 16

Wednesday June 22, 2022 12:38 pm PDT by
The iPad will no longer be able to be used as a home hub following the launch of iOS 16, iPadOS 16, macOS Ventura, and the HomePod 16 software this fall, Apple confirmed today. As discovered in iOS 16 code by MacRumors contributor Steve Moser, Apple says that the iPad will no longer be supported as a home hub. This information will be displayed in the Home app after updating to iOS 16.A home ...
apple ar headset concept 1

Apple Rumored to Announce 'Game-Changer' AR/VR Headset in January 2023

Friday June 24, 2022 2:52 am PDT by
Apple is "likely" to announce its long-rumored mixed-reality headset as soon as January 2023, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has reiterated. Concept render based on purported leaked information by Ian Zelbo In a detailed post on Medium, Kuo explained that Apple's headset will be a "game-changer" for the augmented-reality and virtual-reality market. Describing some of the headset's...