Next-gen NFC chip speeds certification of digital car key systems

Next-gen NFC chip speeds certification of digital car key systems

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By Christoph Hammerschmidt

Semiconductor manufacturer STMicroelectronics has unveiled the latest generation of its automotive-qualified NFC reader ICs for CCC (Car Connectivity Consortium) digital key applications. Their improved features benefit performance and make product certification easier.

The ST25R3920B is used in the doors and centre console of cars for keyless door unlocking and vehicle starting. It can also be used in controllers for wireless charging (Qi) and smartphone pairing. The chip is equipped with ST’s special Heartbeat algorithm for NFC card protection in Wireless Power Consortium (WPC) applications, which can distinguish between an NFC card and a smartphone in card emulation mode. This ensures that phones can be charged while cards remain protected.

Other new features include enhanced Active Wave Shaping (AWS) to facilitate certification in accordance with the NFC Forum’s latest Certification Release 13 (CR13), which also improves interoperability between CCC digital key solutions and smartphones. The AWS helps eliminate overshoot and undershoot of the received signal by adjusting parameters, eliminating the need for repeated antenna re-adjustment during development. The device also supports automatic antenna tuning and low-power wake-up procedures.

The ST25R3920B combines up to 1.6 W of transmit power with best-in-class sensitivity. The high transmit power enables maximum interaction distance when installed, for example, in a door handle where space constraints require the use of a small antenna. The output power is dynamically adjustable to meet the lower and upper limits of the NFC Forum and EMVCo specifications.

Thanks to the combination of a noise-resistant input structure with ST’s special Noise-Suppression Receivers (NSRs), the ST25R3920B features the highest resistance to external interference on the entire market. It also passes even the most stringent noise immunity tests of automotive manufacturers, ensuring reliable operation even under the most adverse conditions.  


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