Volvo Wants to Replace Physical Keys with a Smartphone App

Starting in 2017, Volvo will begin selling cars without a physical key. Instead, Volvo will offer customers the option of using their smartphone to unlock or lock the doors, open the trunk, and start the engine.

This new technology uses the Volvo app to communicate with the car through Bluetooth, with each owner using a single digital key for his or her personal car. Volvo says that owners will also be able to send this key to others, like family members or friends, to share their Volvo, though we wonder about potential security pitfalls of this plan. For buyers who might be a bit skeptical of the smartphone key tech, Volvo will still offer physical keys.

Volvo Digital Key And XC90 660x438

App users will also be able to download more than one digital key to their smartphone; for example, when accessing a rental car in a different location. In fact, pilot testing will start this spring as part of Volvo’s own car-sharing firm in Sweden, called Sunfleet. In this application, the digital key will provide Sunfleet users with a digital key to a rental car directly to their phone. After this testing period, the digital key program will roll out to certain “commercially available” Volvo models, though we don’t yet know which markets will receive the technology first.

Volvo is not the only company working on smartphone key technology. Mercedes-Benz says that its 2017 E-Class can use a smartphone in place of the car’s standard proximity key.

Stay tuned to hear more about this new technology over the coming months.

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