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New Technology Uses Smart Phone as a Car Key Solution

A “key” component to a ride-sharing future, the Digital Key enables smart devices like smart phones and smart watches to act as a digital key for any vehicle, allowing drivers to lock, unlock, start the engine and share access to the car.

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New mobile technology will allow vehicle access to be managed and shared via smart phone or smart watch.

The Car Connectivity Consortium (CCC), an organization focused on enabling seamless mobile device-to-vehicle connectivity, today announced the completion of Phase One of the Digital Key specification. Digital Key is an interoperable solution that enables smart devices like smart phones and smart watches to act as a digital key for any vehicle, allowing drivers to lock, unlock, start the engine and share access to the car. The Phase One specification is undergoing final member review and will be made available to all CCC members in Q2 2018. In ongoing work, the technology will be optimized to enable even more vehicle and smart phone companies, building the basis for a Digital Key ecosystem which the company says will scale over the whole industry.

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To date, there are a few proprietary solutions available for using a smart device as a digital car key. However, by constraining the Digital Key to only work between specific smart phones and cars, the use cases are limited.

By delivering an interoperable solution, CCC is enabling a richer ecosystem that supports transfer of the Digital Key amongst devices and drivers and enables new use cases for fleet management, car rental and car sharing companies. For these future use cases, Digital Key expands privacy and flexibility, allows for secure key transfer, and streamlines vehicle and fleet management.

Digital Key is leveraging existing standards-based interoperable technologies from known platforms. A cross-industry task force of automotive, smart phone and technology companies is creating the specification, including Audi, BMW, Continental, Gemalto, LG Electronics, NXP, Panasonic, Qualcomm Incorporated, Samsung and Volkswagen.

“The addition of Digital Key to CCC’s technology portfolio fulfills our promise to enable connected in-vehicle solutions that put drivers first by delivering new capabilities and creates exciting new business models for companies that manage numerous vehicles,” said Mahfuzur Rahman, president of CCC. “Our members have already identified a number of ways that they believe this technology will be used – for example for car sharing and rental cars, the car key can be easily transferred in advance to the driver through their Smart Phone. I’m excited to see the additional use cases the industry will deliver in the near future now that this interoperable technology will be readily available.”

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