Volvo Cars is planning to offer cars without keys starting next year, the company says. They’re testing the idea now, which replaces traditional car keys and keyfobs with a smartphone app. The Bluetooth-enabled technology lets a user’s smartphone unlock doors, start the engine, and more without the phone being touched. Much like most keyless fobs do now.
The new Volvo app enables the digital key on the customer’s mobile phone to do everything a physical key currently does, such as locking or unlocking the doors or the trunk and allowing the engine to be started.
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 – according to their changing mobility needs.
Using the app people could potentially book and pay for a rental car anywhere in the world and have the digital car key delivered to their phone immediately. On arrival a customer could simply locate the rental car via GPS, unlock it and drive away, avoiding those frustrating queues at airport or train station car rental desks.
Volvo Cars’ digital key means that sharing a car will become both simple and convenient. Volvo owners will be able to send their digital key to other people via their mobile phones so that they can also use the car, this may be family members, friends or co-workers in a company.
“At Volvo we are not interested in technology for the sake of technology. 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,” said Henrik Green, Vice President Product Strategy & Vehicle Line Management at Volvo Cars. “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.”
The tech is being piloted this spring in its car sharing company Sunfleet, which is stationed at Gothenburg airport in Sweden. Starting with the 2017 model year, a limited number of Volvo cars sold will have the option pre-installed.