New standards mean smartphones could soon replace car keys

Smartphones will soon lock, unlock and start cars after VW, BMW, Hyundai, Apple, Samsung and LG develop new specifications

Fiat Tipo vs Skoda Rapid vs Citroen C4 - phone link

Smartphones could soon be used to unlock and start cars, after a consortium of car makers and tech companies agreed a new set of standards for smartphone car keys.

The Car Connectivity Consortium (CCC) - which counts Volkswagen, BMW, Hyundai, Apple, LG and Samsung among its members - has announced ‘Digital Key Release 1.0’ specification, which sets out how “a robust ecosystem” will allow drivers to lock, unlock and start their cars from compatible smart devices.

Best driving apps for Apple and Android

Tesla owners can already use a dedicated app instead of a key to access and start the Model S, Model X and Model 3, but the CCC’s new set of protocols will create an industry-first “standardisation solution”.

The CCC says the new system will assure “the highest state-of-the-art security level for vehicle access.” The technology is the product of the near-field communication (NFC) protocol, and differs from current keyless entry systems which have proven vulnerable to hackers and car thieves in some instances.

The 1.0 specification has generated “extensive interest from automotive and smartphone manufacturers”, resulting in work beginning on the “Digital Key Release 2.0 specification”. This second iteration is under development by all of the parties responsible for the first specification, plus Audi, General Motors, and a number of other companies.

An spokesperson from Volkswagen said the company “has supported and contributed to Digital Key Standardization activity of CCC from the first day”. Audi said the CCC protocols will “lay the building blocks for innovative services”, while BMW said it would deliver “a superior user experience” to customers.

Worried about you car being stolen without its key? Here’s how to avoid keyless theft

Recommended

Over a quarter of drivers are late for their MoT
MOT testing station
Consumer news

Over a quarter of drivers are late for their MoT

Motorists who drive a car without a valid MoT certificate risk a fine of up to £1,000
7 Aug 2020
Company car tax guide 2019/2020: everything you need to know
Consumer news

Company car tax guide 2019/2020: everything you need to know

Strict new emissions tests will affect how much company car tax we pay. Here we look at how the system has changed
6 Aug 2020
Six-month MoT extension ends on Saturday
Consumer news

Six-month MoT extension ends on Saturday

Department for Transport ends MoT extension on Saturday 1 August; cars due an MoT before that date still get extra six months
29 Jul 2020
Number of road deaths remain virtually unchanged since 2012
Accident boards to stop rubbernecking
News

Number of road deaths remain virtually unchanged since 2012

The latest provisional figures suggest road deaths have remained virtually unchanged for years, prompting criticism from motoring groups
20 Jul 2020

Most Popular

New 2022 BMW M3 Touring officially confirmed
BMW 3 Series Touring

New 2022 BMW M3 Touring officially confirmed

New hot BMW M3 Touring estate on the way and it’ll feature the same 503bhp straight-six engine as the saloon. Our exclusive image previews how it coul…
12 Aug 2020
Entire Volkswagen line-up updated for 2021
News

Entire Volkswagen line-up updated for 2021

Volkswagen has revised its complete range of vehicles for 2021, adding new engines, fresh tech and its latest MIB3 infotainment system
11 Aug 2020
New 2020 Audi S3 Sportback blasts in with 306bhp
Audi S3

New 2020 Audi S3 Sportback blasts in with 306bhp

Audi’s latest hot hatch keeps four-cylinder power but turns up the wick and level of standard tech
11 Aug 2020