Someday soon, the most useful tool in your car may not be the jack or the lug nut wrench, but your NFC device, like your mobile phone, tablet or wearable. As automakers work to make cars more Internet-enabled, NFC is filling a major void by bringing your personalized preferences to your vehicle — every time you slip behind the wheel.

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It starts with keyless entry. Why carry a car key that can be stolen or lost, when you can unlock and start your car with a tap of your NFC device?

Once you’re behind the wheel, wouldn’t it be nice to have your vehicle — or even a rental car — make all the proper adjustments to suit your preferences? With a tap of your NFC device, the seat, steering wheel, and radio presets could adjust to suit you, and the music stored on your phone could be instantly cued up to play on the car’s audio system. Of course, you’ll also want to use the car’s hands-free Bluetooth speakerphone — and NFC is ideal for pairing those devices in a flash without awkward menu selections or code entry.

But what about getting driving directions? Do you have to enter your destination, character by excruciating character, into your car’s user-unfriendly navigation system? No. With NFC, you can have every address that is already loaded on your NFC device instantly linked and accessible to your vehicle’s navigation system — no re-keying required.

And that’s just scratching the surface. Companies in the NFC ecosystem are at work on even more amazing NFC solutions for drivers. Soon your car will be able to tell you when it needs an oil change or other important maintenance. And before long, those days of wandering through the shopping mall parking lot looking for your vehicle will be over — with NFC’s help, your NFC device will guide you quickly to its exact location.

The NFC Forum is working to help bring these innovations to market as quickly as possible. Our Consumer Electronics Special Interest Group has established an Automotive Task Force that provides support to member companies and automakers as they explore all the opportunities. That’s great news, whether you’re driving your own car, a rental, or a shared vehicle. To find out how you can participate, contact me: [email protected].

To learn more, check out the article that recently appeared in the 138,000-member Society of Automotive Engineering’s Automotive Engineering magazine. These innovations are right around the bend. To help lead these efforts within the NFC Forum, join now.