Drivers could replace car keys with iPhones after standards for ‘virtual keys’ agreed

Drivers could replace car keys with iPhones after standards for ‘virtual keys’ agreed

The days of motorists scouring the house for lost car keys may be over after a group of companies including Apple unveiled standards for wireless car keys that can be downloaded onto a smartphone.


The Car Connectivity Consortium (CCC), an industry group comprising the top car manufacturers, is working with the iPhone maker to bring about device-to-vehicle connectivity. It has published a set of guidelines for its members that will allow people to lock, unlock, start the engine, and share access to their car using smart devices.

The organisation includes car companies Audi, BMW, General Motors, Hyundai and Volkswagen.

© Newspress
Audi A1

Some car manufacturers already allow owners to unlock their cars through smartphone apps. However, the CCC’s Digital Key plains aim to standardise a method across the industry that allows vehicle manufacturers to securely transfer a digital key to a driver’s smart device. Volkswagen said it plans to integrate the technology soon.

The digital key could allow car owners to send a virtual key to their car to another driver, instead of handing someone over a set of physical keys. The technology might also be useful for future car-on-demand services, in which vehicles are rented from parking spaces, or to enter driverless cars.

: Unmanned driving system [Zhang Peng/LightRocket via Getty Images]© Getty : Unmanned driving system [Zhang Peng/LightRocket via Getty Images]

Current methods used by car makers, such as Audi, use Wi-Fi or Bluetooth communications. This technique has been preyed on by thieves who deploy relay devices to trick keyless-entry vehicles into thinking the key fob is present, before unlocking the doors and starting the engine.

The CCC’s model would instead use short-range communication technology, known as NFC, which is currently used to make contactless payments via smartphones.

Tesla is among the manufacturers allowing drivers  to lock and unlock their car, as well as limit the top speed and acceleration whilst someone else is driving their car. It can also lock the glove compartment and the boot, and change access to certain vehicle settings.

Tesla Model 3 sedan. (Courtesy of Tesla Motors via AP, File)© AP Tesla Model 3 sedan. (Courtesy of Tesla Motors via AP, File)

Apple in 2015 filed a patent for technology that would allow drivers to use an iPhone to unlock a car and start the engine as they enter it. The connection would be made via Bluetooth, according to the patent, not using the NFC-based digital key method.

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The CCC said it is also already working on an updated version of the software that would work between multiple different smartphones and cars, unlike the more limited existing version.

Mahfuzur Rahman, president of the CCC, said: “I’m excited about the overwhelmingly positive response we’ve received from the industry to our standardized Digital Key solution, with new members signing up to help

drive adoption and specification development.”


Source by msn