Volvo Testing Truly Keyless Vehicle System
Physical Keys and Fobs Replaced with Smartphone App
It seems more and more of our lives revolve around, and are enabled by, our mobile devices. From ordering food and coffee, paying for it, finding and reviewing businesses, sending gift cards, posting social media updates, and tracking the whereabouts of friends and family, among dozens of other functions, there’s little today’s smartphones can’t do. Even remotely starting and unlocking cars has been enabled by apps such as GM’s OnStar RemoteLink. Tesla allows for unlocking and starting by smartphone app but primarily as a backup function when the physical RFID fob has been lost. Volvo is about to go all the way with the keyless concept, announcing that it will offer models without keys starting in 2017.
Customers can download a mobile app that will allow them to unlock, start, and share their car through Bluetooth near-field communication. The app will allow for multiple vehicles, as well as allowing owners to allow access to friends or family with the app downloaded or even complete strangers for car-sharing use. The technology could potentially dramatically streamline car rentals, allowing customers to go directly to the car, unlock it, and drive away.
Volvo will demonstrate the technology at next week’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in the Ericsson booth and will conduct field trials with Swedish car sharing company Sunfleet at the Gothenburg airport. Volvo promises physical keys will still be available to customers on request going forward.