How many times have you lost your car keys? Well, if it is up to Volvo, it won’t matter because you won’t have any to begin with. The automaker plans to build keyless cars, and it plans to offer them soon.
Volvo says it will become the first automaker in the world to offer cars that can start with a mobile phone app from 2017. Customers will download an app that will, in essence, become a smartphone digital key. It will connect to the car via Bluetooth.
Volvo says the digital app will be able to do everything a physical key can do – lock and unlock doors, open the trunk, and start the engine.
Beyond that, Volvo says it could also work in rental car and car-sharing situations. The automaker’s idea is that people could use the app to book and pay for rental cars, then have digital keys delivered on their phone. Drivers could also send digital keys to other people via their mobile phone.
“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 Volvo’s Henrik Green. “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.”
Volvo plans to start a pilot project with the technology this spring in Sweden. It says a limited number of commercially available cars will be equipped with the new digital key technology in 2017.
If all of this is just too Jetson-era for you, Volvo says it will still continue to offer keys for drivers who want them.