Car Manufacturers, Smartphone Makers Ready Digital Key Tech

The Car Connectivity Consortium helped bring together a variety of stakeholders to produce a Digital Key protocol that allows car owners to use smartphones in place of physical keys. With interest revving up, the group is already working a new version of the standard.

We may not have driverless vehicles just yet, but we’re getting just a little bit closer to keyless cars.

And that’s thanks to a new specification being worked on by an organization that includes some of the world’s largest tech companies and car manufacturers, including Apple, Samsung, General Motors, and Toyota.

This week, the Car Connectivity Consortium announced the publication of its new digital key specification, which intends to make it possible for people to lock, unlock, turn on, and share access to a car through the use of a smartphone. The technology relies on the use of near-field communications (NFC) and has a high level of security. Even the possibility of renting or selling the car has been considered in the standard.

According to CNET, a number of carmakers already produce vehicles that support using smartphones in place of a key, including Audi, Lincoln, Mercedes-Benz, Tesla, and Volvo. Others are expected to follow suit.

The interest in the technology has encouraged a number of companies to join the organization, and the consortium is already working on version 2.0 of the technology, which will standardize the authentication protocol that vehicles use with smartphones. Mahfuzur Rahman, the group’s president, expressed excitement at the fast uptake of the standard.

“We’re already seeing products in the market that are leveraging Release 1.0, and I believe that the forthcoming Digital Key Release 2.0 will have an even bigger impact on the industry as we meet needs for massive scalability,” Rahman said in a news release. “I’m enjoying this exciting journey with the CCC community as we change the way that drivers access any vehicle, and add further to the key functions that smart devices enable in our lives.”

(dolphfyn/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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