BMW is interested in replacing keys with mobile apps.
Keyless technology has changed the way we access and start new cars, making the physical car key itself less important. BMW is thinking the replacement for the standard key would result in one less thing taking up space in your pocket.
BMW is looking into the idea of replacing wireless key fobs with a mobile app that could unlock a vehicle, Reuters reports, citing an interview with a BMW board member at the Frankfurt Motor Show.
“We are looking at whether it is feasible, and whether we can do it,” said Ian Robertson, the BMW board member responsible for sales, to Reuters. “Whether we do it right now or at some point in the future, remains to be seen.”
Instead of a wireless key fob, a BMW app would allow customers to unlock their vehicles. It’s unclear if the app would rely on an internet connection — sending a request to the cloud, then beaming that request down to the car — or if it would work with a more localized technology like Bluetooth LE or near-field communications (NFC).
NFC keycards would be available to unlock or start the car, in the event you want to lend the car to a friend or have a valet park it.
Most people have phone, keys and a wallet in their pockets, a credit card sized NFC keycard in your wallet and your phone could mean you actually have 2 keys on you whilst having no ‘key’.