The car has become widely known as a computer on wheels. There isn’t much these days that isn’t controlled by an electronic. We don’t need a key to get in to our car. Linking our smart devices to our car is seamless. Cameras can have surveillance running while we are driving and when parked. It seems as if there is just one thing missing. Why do we need a key?
A few years ago Tesla broke the mold by integrating a digital key. You would walk up to your car and it would unlock. You could then get in your car and it would start with the push of a button. It was only a matter of time before others followed.
Apple announced a lot of changes in their upcoming iOS14 launch yesterday. One announcement that seem to not get a ton of attention was the partnership with BMW and the digital key.
BMW has long had their ‘subscription services that have evolved over the years. From starting off with the ‘SOS’ button in case of emergency or accident to incorporating Telephone professional services. The subscription has historically been aimed at the upper end clientele. Recently they have also included Apple CarPlay in to this mix which is a great way to have your Apple device interface with your vehicle. For the 2019 model year BMW, they went even a step further to integrate the highly anticipated remote start feature with the BMW Connected App.
The digital key seems to be the one missing piece. iOS 14 will allow you to store your digital key for your BMW in your phone. Starting with the 2021 5 series you need only approach your car and tap your device to the door handle. Near Field Communication (NFC) will unlock the car and you are a button away from starting it. To take this even further you will have the ability to share your key with friends or family should you be willing to let others drive your new BMW.
Here is why this is awesome. Having worked for BMW I can tell you that a new key should you lose yours is the better part of $500 after programming. If you have a fancy LCD key you are in the thousands. Same goes if you want to purchase an extra key for one of your kids or room mates. The second reason why this is awesome is cause you don’t have to worry about losing your keys. How many times have we gone out to eat and our keys fall out of our jacket pocket?
I’m excited to see where this goes and how many other OEM Car manufacturers jump on board. BMW with their strict privacy and security is a great partner for this venture.