If you are a person frequently forgets their car keys, here's some good news for you. Volvo Cars has said in a statement it plans to become the world's first car-manufacturer to offer vehicles without keys from 2017, a major step that is expected to be followed by other manufacturers.
Volvo customers will be offered an application on their mobile phones to replace the physical key with a digital key. The Bluetooth-enabled Volvo app digital key technology will let customers do everything a physical key currently does, such as locking or unlocking the doors or the boot and starting the engine.
This new technology will also offer customers the possibility to receive more than one digital key on their app, allowing them to access different Volvo cars in different locations, the company said in a statement. The digital key will also make sharing the same car simple and convenient. Volvo owners will be able to send their digital key to other people (family member, colleagues) via their mobile phones.
"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 whomever the owner wishes," said Henrik Green, Vice-President of Product Strategy & Vehicle Line Management at Volvo Cars, in the statement.
The technology, in its next phase, is expected help people book and pay for a rental car anywhere in the world and have the digital car key delivered to their phone immediately. A customer will be able to locate the rental car via GPS, unlock it and drive away, skipping many intermediate processes. Physical keys will continue to be offered for people who want them, said the statement.
Volvo will pilot this technology later this year at Gothenburg airport in Sweden via its car-sharing firm Sunfleet. The keyless-car technology will be showcased at the Mobile World Congress 2016 (Feb. 22 to 25) in Barcelona at the Ericsson booth.