Denso International America Inc. has acquired Holland, Mich.-based InfiniteKey Inc., along with several key patents and research and development resources.
Denso says the acquisition provides foundational pieces to developing phone-as-a-key technology and increases its lead in developing and deploying smartphone-based automotive access, a critical component of the company’s strategy to create a future with frictionless mobility.
This type of technology will become increasingly important for automakers, as ridesharing and driverless services progress beyond the need for keys, according to Denso.
“When we consider the future of mobility, the customer experience is always at the forefront of our design. Eliminating the need for physical keys will create a headache-free experience for car owners, and ridesharing and driverless services users,” says Bill Foy, senior vice president of Engineering, Denso International America. “This acquisition brings us one step closer to making this experience a reality and advancing vehicle access technologies.”
InfiniteKey has developed advanced techniques for microlocating smartphones relative to vehicles using standard Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). This technology allows automakers to rely on phones as passive keys, in the same way they rely upon dedicated passive key fobs today. Unlike key fobs, however, phones as passive key systems enable a broad range of mobility services, such as ridesharing and driverless services.
“This acquisition demonstrates Denso’s aggressive approach to supporting startups and technologies we view as significantly valuable for the future of the transportation industry,” says Tony Cannestra, director of corporate ventures. “Whether it’s through direct investment or acquisition, Denso will find a way to support and partner with companies to help transform mobility.”
Kevin Virta, CEO of InfiniteKey, expressed his team’s enthusiasm for joining forces with Denso. “Becoming part of Denso, with its global reach and world-class engineering, means our phone-as-a-key technology can reach the broadest possible penetration in the automotive market,” says Virta. “We are looking forward to making significant contributions to Denso’s efforts to lead the way in automotive technologies of the future.”
InfiniteKey is now a satellite office of Denso International America.
The acquisition of InfiniteKey was completed in October 2017 and terms were not disclosed. Denso is the North American regional headquarters of Denso Corp.
Denso Corp. based in Kariya, Aichi prefecture, Japan, is a global automotive supplier of advanced technology, systems and components in the areas of thermal, powertrain control, electronics and information and safety. Denso has more than 200 subsidiaries and affiliates in 38 countries and regions (including Japan) and employs more than 150,000 people worldwide. With its North American headquarters located in Southfield, Mich., Denso employs more than 23,000 people at 28 consolidated subsidiaries and 4 affiliates across the North American region.