Volvo replaces car key with mobile phone
Your car keys are about to be lost - forever.
Swedish car maker Volvo has revealed a world first new mobile phone app that is set to do away with the need for a physical key.
Using Bluetooth technology the app allows the car's owner to unlock and start the ignition of the car without a traditional key. The company claims this breakthrough will make it easier for people to use their cars, they do not have to take the phone out of their pocket or bag, and opens up new areas of development for car makers.
"There are obviously many permutations when it comes to how this shared key technology can be used," said Martin Rosenqvist, New Car Director, Special Products at Volvo.
"We look forward to seeing how else this technology might be used in the future and we welcome any and all ideas."
The technology allows for owners to share their car with their family and friends by sending virtual keys to them via the app. The technology could also be used for rental cars, allowing customers to have the key sent directly to their phones.
"At Volvo, we are not interested in technology for the sake of technology," explained Henrik Green, Vice President of Product Strategy for Volvo.
"New technology has to make our customers' lives easier and save them time. Mobility needs are evolving and so are our customers' expectation to access cars in an uncomplicated way. Our innovative digital key technology has the potential to completely change how a Volvo can be accessed and shared. Instead of sitting idle in a parking lot the entire day, cars could be used more often and efficiently by whoever the owner wishes."
Volvo will begin a pilot programme in Sweden later in 2016 before rolling the technology out to new car customers starting in 2017. However, customers will still be offered a traditional key if they prefer.