Volvo Cars is set to begin selling keyless cars to consumers in 2017, with Bluetooth-enabled digital keys replacing physicals keys.
The digital keys, available through a Volvo app on the consumer’s mobile phone, will do everything physical keys can do, including locking and unlocking doors, as well as starting the engine.
This new technology will also offer customers the possibility to receive more than one digital key on their app, giving them to access different Volvo cars in different locations.
Using the app people could potentially book and pay for a rental car anywhere in the world and have the digital car key delivered to their phone immediately. On arrival a customer could locate the rental car via GPS, unlock it and drive away, avoiding the queues at airport or train station car rental desks.
Volvo Cars’ digital key means that sharing a car will become both simple and convenient. Volvo owners will be able to send their digital key to other people, such as family or friends, via their mobile phones so that they can also use the car.
“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 Henrik Green, vice president of product strategy & vehicle line management at Volvo Cars. “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 will pilot this technology in spring 2016 via its car sharing firm Sunfleet, stationed at Gothenburg airport, Sweden. A limited number of commercially available cars will be equipped with the new digital key technology in 2017.
“There are obviously many permutations when it comes to how this shared key technology can be used,” added Martin Rosenqvist, the new car director, special products at Volvo Cars. “We look forward to seeing how else this technology might be used in the future and we welcome any and all ideas.”
This technology is not completely new to Volvo, in 2015 the company launched the world’s first commercial offer to have online shopping delivered directly to the car, by providing a one-time digital key to a delivery company. Now the digital key technology will also be made available for customers.
Physical keys will continue to be offered for people who want them.
Volvo’s innovative keyless car technology will be shown for the first time at the Mobile World Congress 2016 (22-25 February) in Barcelona at the Ericsson booth.
To view Volvo’s Phone as a Key movie, click here.