There’s nothing wrong with using a physical key or key fob to unlock and start your car. However, automakers seem to believe that using phone applications are the way of the future. With that in mind, the physical key and key fob that we’ve come to know could become a relic of the past in the years to come.
BMW recently revealed its next-generation digital key technology called Digital Key 2.0 which works via an application on your mobile phone. If you’re worried about your phone battery going flat and not being able to access your vehicle, the Bavarian automaker says their Digital Key 2.0 will work even with a dead battery. Yes, you read that right.
According to BMW, the phone will still be able to unlock the vehicle even with a dead battery by using near-field communication (NFC). It features a security chip that works separately from the smartphone system thus allowing vehicle owners to access their vehicles, even with a flat battery. At the moment, the BMW Digital Key is only compatible with Android phones. Ironically, the automaker doesn’t support Android Auto in its infotainment, only Apple CarPlay.
In the future, BMW’s Digital Key technology will be even more advanced as it is currently in development with the Car Connectivity Consortium (CCC). The automaker adds that the next-generation Digital Key will also use the latest ultra-wide-band (UWB 3.0) technology. This will allow owners to leave their phones in the pocket to open doors rather than holding it up next to the door handles. At the same time, UWB 3.0 also minimizes the chance of thieves being able to duplicate the digital frequency of keyless entry systems.
Aside from making it easier to get into vehicles, BMW and the CCC are also pushing for standardized security protocols used across the auto industry. Or, they can also use a physical key instead.