Orlando tech firms UniKey, Voxx team up to push toward keyless, fobless car-door entry


  • TECH
  • Monday, 16 Jul 2018

An attendee holds a door handle of a Vision Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury concept vehicle manufactured by Mercedes-Benz, a unit of Daimler AG, during a premiere event in Beijing, China, on Tuesday, April 24, 2018. Mercedes-Benz is considering extending its ultra-luxury Maybach badge with a crossover, complete with a porcelain tea service embedded in a heatable ebony-wood tray, to take on high-end competitors such as Bentley's sought-after Bentayga SUV. Photographer: Giulia Marchi/Bloomberg

An Orlando car technology firm has joined forces with another local company, which primarily builds keyless entry systems for hotels, in an effort to eliminate the need for keys or fobs to open a car door. 

UniKey and Voxx Automotive have already been collaborating on a contract for a keyless entry system for an unspecified electronic vehicle model. 

Executives for both companies said the ability to collaborate with local firms is a positive sign for the region. 

“The tech resources and capabilities in the area are growing and, perhaps more importantly, there's an attitude here that fosters collaboration,” Voxx Automotive's Orlando-based President Ed Mas said. 

Voxx has been a top company in developing ways for people to use smartphones to unlock car doors. 

UniKey, meanwhile, has been doing that for the hotel industry and will bring to the partnership the ability to add Bluetooth and cloud services to the deal, according to a joint release. 

“Our vision is to let consumers effortlessly access their homes, offices and automobiles, while increasing security, visibility and control,” UniKey CEO Phil Dumas said. “Far more than a matter of convenience, this partnership will help automakers and related companies capitalize on major market shifts in how consumers use automobiles.” 

The new collaboration could take advantage of a growing car-sharing and ride-sharing community, Dumas said. 

Details about the agreement were not disclosed. 

This will be UniKey's first entry into the automotive market. However, the company has grown its foothold in the home door hardware market. 

UniKey founder Phil Dumas once appeared on the entrepreneurial show Shark Tank, where he received an offer from all five investors on a 2012 episode. 

The company has raised more than US$21mil (RM84.93mil) in private investment. 

Voxx, meanwhile, has landed deals with major auto manufacturers, including Nissan and Mazda, for its in-seat technology. 

The company also has been expanding its phone-as-a-key technology. — The Orlando Sentinel/Tribune News Service

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