Ford files patent for contactless vehicle access card with integrated e-ink display

ACCESS CARD: The display could show required vehicle maintenance and adverts for service providers

Vehicle manufacturing giant Ford has filed a patent application for a contactless vehicle access card with an integrated display that would use RFID or NFC to enable users both to unlock and start their vehicle and to also receive updated information about its status, location and other features.

The patent describes “an improved vehicle access card” that would “address […] downsides” in existing card-based solutions and “may include a lower-power, flexible e-ink display” that would provide “unique features in a smaller, cheaper device when compared to bulky, expensive key fobs with LCD or Oled screens”.

It goes on to lay out the different types of information that might be displayed on the card and describe specific use cases — including linking multiple vehicles to a single card or the use of the card with rental vehicles — for which relevant data could be provided.

Embodiments described in the patent include using the e-ink display to show information such as the year, make and model of a vehicle, access permissions granted to the user, vehicle maintenance requirements, card expiry dates, vehicle status (including fuel level, battery charge and diagnostic information), a vehicle’s parking location and instructions for tap-based gesture commands available on the card.

E-ink displays offer the advantage of being “available in a variety of sizes that can cover large portions of the card, are thin enough to avoid adding significant build to the card, and are flexible enough to allow the display to bend and twist along with the plastic card while in a wallet, pocket, bag etc,” the patent says.

“E-ink is also ideal for a card with little or no internal battery capacity as the displays draw very little power, if any, when displaying static information or images that do not need to change frequently.”

• Linxens vice president Thomas Decker recently shared an in-depth presentation on the current state of play and market outlook for next-generation contactless cards, including biometric cards, metal cards, dynamic CVV cards, display cards and LED light cards for NFCW’s Contactless World Congress. Watch the presentation here.

Ford files patent for contactless vehicle access card with integrated e-ink display was written by Tom Phillips and published by NFCW.