Google Digital Car Key Enables Locking/Unlocking Your Car Using Smartphone

google digital car key

The Google Digital Car Key will be available in 2022 BMW models and cars from other manufacturers using UWB (Ultra Wide Band) technology

At the 2021 I/O developer event, Google has announced that it has partnered with BMW and other car manufacturers to develop a digital key that will let owners lock, unlock and start their cars using Android-enabled smartphone. Later this year, the digital car keys will be made available on Samsung Galaxy and select Pixel models operating on Android 12.

The digital car key will be present in 2022 BMW models and vehicles from other carmakers. It uses a UWB (Ultra Wide Band) technology as it enables a form of radio transmission with sensors telling the direction of the signal. The Android 12 enabled smartphone’s antenna locates and identified objected equipped with UWB transmitters.

Thus, the car owners can lock and unlock their vehicle without taking the phone out. The cars with NFC (Near Field Communication) technology will help in unlocking just by tapping the phone against the door and it communicates with an NFC reader located within the door handle. Another interesting development is that the digital car key can be shared with friends or whomsoever desired, in a safe manner.

2021 BMW 5-Series LWB 1

The Google ‘Digital Car Key’ comes on the back of Apple Inc introducing a similar technology in 2020 as the users can add a digital car key to their iOS 14 enabled iPhone/Apple Watch and it came into existence first on the 2021 BMW 5 Series. With the in-car connective based technologies growing, automobile makers are spending money to develop new applications.

Google’s Vice President of Engineering Erik Kay wrote in a blog post, “In North America, the average person now has around eight connected devices, and by 2022, this is predicted to grow to 13 connected devices.”. The “fast pair” feature lets users connect devices through Bluetooth with a single tap including vehicles and is being expanded.

The Car Connectivity Consortium comprising Apple, Google and Samsung alongside automotive giants like BMW, GM, Honda, Hyundai and Volkswagen has spent years developing a seamless way to standardise a digital key solution. We will see more and more convenience-based seamless digitised solutions using smartphones in the future as well.