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A bunch of modern cars already let you unlock your vehicle using your phone, but there isn’t a standard to ensure that the feature will work across devices for years to come. Thankfully, a number of tech firms and automakers are coming together to sort that out.
More than 70 companies, including the likes of Apple, LG, Samsung, Panasonic, Audi, GM, BMW, Hyundai, NXP, Qualcomm, and Volkswagen, have joined hands under the Car Connectivity Consortium to create the Digital Key standard, which is a specification that aims to let you securely unlock and start your vehicle across car and mobile device brands.
The publication of this standard should not only help more companies adopt these features, but also allow owners to share access to their vehicles with others, through their phones.
The idea is to use NFC or Bluetooth Low Energy protocols to let you unlock your vehicle when you’re within close range of it, automatically or manually.
Digital keys would also make it a lot simpler to manage access to vehicles – whether you want to let your buddy borrow your ride while you’re out of town, or allow customers at your car rental business to pick up a whip at their convenience, without having to be present to hand over the vehicle.
It’ll be interesting to see how this is adopted over the next few years, especially as the global vehicle sharing market continues to grow. You can find the Car Connectivity Consortium’s white paper here (PDF).