Mobile devices have become an integral part of our life. From instant searching to saving and backing up contacts, their phone number, email ids, photos, documents, and more—there is nothing you cannot do with a few clicks of your smartphone. Taking mobile technology a bit further, today, you can access restaurant menus, switch on the AC at home despite being away, call for a cab at any time of the day, and track your delivery in real time by just spending a few minutes on your phone.
Now, what if we told you that you can use your smartphone to unlock and start your car? Yes, it is true. Google’s new operating system (OS) Android 12 allows you to use your smartphone as a digital key for your car. Not only can you get your car insurance online, but you can also start your car using online interfaces.
What is a digital car key?
In simple terms, the digital car key feature will let you start, lock, and unlock your car using your smartphone. A digital car key is based on Near Field Communication (NFC) wireless connectivity technology. Once the set-up is completed, all you have to do is take your phone near the connected car or tap your phone on the car reader of your car, and you will be good to go. It is just a matter of time before this technology is adopted by most automobile manufacturers. Then, you will not have to carry your car keys in your pocket or purse anymore.
How does a digital car key work?
Given below are some points to explain how a digital car key works:
- The digital car key feature will be available on Android 12 OS. The connectivity between the smartphone and the car will be facilitated by the I/O conferences.
- Along with Near Field Communication, the Android 12 OS will put into use the Ultra-Wideband (UWB) technology. With the application of Ultra-Wideband technology, you may not have to even take your phone out to lock or unlock your car.
- The Android 12 OS-operated digital car keys will be compatible with existing NFC-enabled cars.
- By linking your smartphone with the car, your phone will be your car key and you will be able to lock, unlock, and start your car with just a tap.
- Not only can you access your car by tapping the digital car key on the key card reader of the car, but like other web-based applications, you will also be able to share access to your car with your friends and family.
Why do you need a digital car key?
Are you wondering what the need for a digital car key is when you can already operate certain important features using web-based software or Bluetooth? The most crucial difference between the current technology and the digital car key is that presently car operations are accessed using third-party applications. Also, despite linking software-based operating applications to the car, there is still the need for the key fob. Besides, the current connectivity offered by third-party apps is not secure enough to do away with clunky key fobs and bulky car keys.
With Google’s Android 12 OS, all you will need is your smartphone to lock, unlock, and start your car. Thus, you can avoid carrying your car keys everywhere.
How can you get a digital car key?
If the news is to be believed, Google’s expansion of digital car keys is directed towards such a system that you won’t even have to tap your phone to the key card reader attached to your car. For this Google is pairing up with a wide number of mobile phone and car manufacturers.
Some phones that can support Ultra-Wideband (UWB) technology in their configuration include Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus, Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus, Samsung S21 Ultra, Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, Pixel 6 Pro, and Pixel 7 Pro.
As far as car manufacturers are concerned, the application of the digital car key is still at the nascent stage. At the moment, you may not be able to get immediate access to the digital car key. Currently, only a handful of automobile companies are planning to introduce digital car keys in some of their car models.
It is widely speculated that soon, digital car keys will completely take over the job of car keys and key fobs. To expand the applicability of the digital car key, Google has partnered with the Car Connectivity Consortium so that more and more car brands adopt this disruptive innovation.
At the moment, BMW is actively incorporating this Android digital car key in its vehicles. Several other brands such as Volkswagen, Hyundai, General Motors, and Honda are also on their way to joining the bandwagon.
How it will affect you financially?
There is a possibility of an increase in the ex-showroom price of cars with digital car keys. The technological advancement is expected to raise the cost and hence, the sale price. Other than that, the premium that you would pay for motor insurance online may also see an increase. The higher the value of the car, the higher will be the premium.
Whether digital car keys are launched immediately or after some more trials, in the long-run digital car keys will invariably replace the current set of keys and key fobs. Given that locking, unlocking, and starting a car with your smartphone will be a highly convenient means of operating your car, it is only obvious that you may also want to equip your car with a digital car key. When you do, make sure you check the corresponding car insurance online.