BMW has announced a new Digital Key will be part of the BMW Connected suite which allows users to lock and unlock the vehicle, start the engine and share the key with others using a smartphone.
Does this sound somewhat familiar? Back in 2017, BMW became part of the Car Connectivity Consortium (CCC) which looked into the viability and development of the technology. The latest generation of a standardised ecosystem for vehicle access that will enable new functions across multiple devices and different manufacturers was recently announced.
Dubbed Digital Key 2.0, the tech has the potential to be used for a variety of applications thanks to advances in smart devices. Dr Olaf Müller, head of Development Digital Access Systems at the BMW Group, commented: “Our customers want cross-vendor interoperability. Standardisation is the only way to achieve this; proprietary solutions are no longer beneficial.”
To fully succeed there must be technology standards to allow the digital key to operate across various devices and vehicles. Many smartphone producers are part of the CCC which is a step towards enabling all kinds of smart devices, including phones, watches and other wearables to access the tech.
The second-generation NFC-based digital key uses a security chip that works separately from the smartphone operating system. This means it also works if the smartphone cannot be started anymore because the battery is too low.
Further development will see the digital key enhanced by the ultra-wideband (UWB)-based release 3.0, offering increased anti-theft protection and enable precise localisation between the device and the vehicle. The device will then no longer be required to be held against the door handle to unlock the vehicle.
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