Apple wants to replace your car keys with an iPhone

Posted:
in General Discussion edited June 20
The Car Connectivity Consortium, which counts Apple among its charter members, on Wednesday announced the publication of new "digital key" standard that allows drivers to actuate vehicle systems like door locks and the engine via an NFC-enabled smartphone.

Digital Key


With its technology, aptly dubbed the Digital Key Release 1.0 specification, the CCC aims to bring automotive manufacturers and mobile device makers together to create an interoperable digital key standard.

The system operates in much the same way as first-party digital keys currently available from a handful of vehicle OEMs. Users with authenticated smart devices are able to lock, unlock, start the engine of and share access to a specific car. Unlike some remote control solutions that leverage Wi-Fi or Bluetooth communications, however, Release 1.0 appears intrinsically tied to short-range technology like NFC.

Relying on existing Trusted Service Manager (TSM) infrastructure, Release 1.0 allows carmakers to securely transfer digital key information to a smart device like a smartphone, perfect for car-sharing or fleet deployments. Specialized hardware like near-field communications chips and internal secure elements provide a high level of user protection.

According to a white paper outlining the technology's architecture, Release 1.0 looks to create standardized interfaces between a car, a smart device's NFC and Bluetooth Low Energy stack, secure element, first-party app, TSM, OEM backend and SE provider. OEMs are responsible for proprietary interfaces between their respective backends and the car.

As noted by the group, which focuses on developing mobile device-to-vehicle connectivity solutions, a number of carmakers already field proprietary digital key solutions, though the market is fragmented. A single unifying standard would not only enhance the customer experience, but provide manufacturers access to the latest security protocols and technological advancements, the CCC argues.

CCC charter member Audi is already using digital key technology in its vehicles, while Volkswagen, another charter member, said it plans to integrate the technology soon. Alongside Audi and Volkswagen, Apple, BMW, General Motors, Hyundai, LG Electronics, Panasonic and Samsung are listed charter members of the organization, while core members include ALPS, Continental Automotive, DENSO, Gemalto, NXP and Qualcomm.

The CCC says it is already working on a Digital Key Release 2.0 that should be completed by the first quarter of 2019. The second-generation technology will provide a standardized authentication protocol between the vehicle and a paired smart device, and will be fully with interoperability between difference smartphones and cars.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 57
    claire1claire1 Posts: 477unconfirmed, member
    An old AppleCar idea us users had on this site. (I'm not a new user just a different account).
    repressthiswatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 57
    longpathlongpath Posts: 203member
    I'm curious how robust such a method is against spoofing/hacking versus physical keys with onboard RFIDs for secondary authentication (example: the now discontinued Mazda RX-8 has a conventional physical key which also carries an embedded RFID which the PCM must authenticate in order to enable to fuel pump).
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 57
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,288member
    longpath said:
    I'm curious how robust such a method is against spoofing/hacking versus physical keys with onboard RFIDs for secondary authentication (example: the now discontinued Mazda RX-8 has a conventional physical key which also carries an embedded RFID which the PCM must authenticate in order to enable to fuel pump).
    I think it can be quite good, perhaps even more secure. Using a smartphone app for access to a car is already possible with many vehicles, and I think having this tied to the Secure Element, NFC, and BT would make it even better. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 57
    jony0jony0 Posts: 267member
    While they're at it, they should also use the NFC chip to mitigate texting or other phone distractions and shut off those features from the phone when in the driver's seat.
  • Reply 5 of 57
    I love it...walk up to my car with my AppleWatch on and I can get in my car! :)
    StrangeDayspeterhartcaladanianGeorgeBMactoysandmewatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 57
    Toyota wants $500 for a Prius key. This will never happen. They want their $75 for your cabin air filter. 


    GeorgeBMacwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 57
    If you can do this while being chased, it might be highly useful. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 57
    robin huberrobin huber Posts: 3,200member
    I love it...walk up to my car with my AppleWatch on and I can get in my car! :)
    Me too! The only thing that keeps me from walking in to Trader Joe’s with only my watch on. Posted this feature request on Apple’s feedback page a few months ago. Also did the AirPod hearing booster thing. I guess Tim just waits around to see what I want and then responds with action. Thanks, Tim!
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 57
    nhtnht Posts: 4,228member
    I love it...walk up to my car with my AppleWatch on and I can get in my car! :)
    Me too! The only thing that keeps me from walking in to Trader Joe’s with only my watch on. 
    Trader Joe’s has a shoes and pants requirement. 
    roundaboutnowmacxpressbonobobfastasleepfotoformatchasmbestkeptsecretcaladaniansmiffy31gatorguy
  • Reply 10 of 57
    mattinozmattinoz Posts: 899member
    This would be massive for car share programs.
    Download app sign up on the spot unlock car and go.
    Send you just the key for the car you booked.

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 57
    royboyroyboy Posts: 445member
    With my wife’s Lexus, as long as one of us has a keyless entry remote on us, a hand on the door handle and the doors unlock.  Engine starts with a push of s button.   I like that I don’t have to pull a key out of my pocket.   I would like a system that ID’s me as the person trying to drive the Lexus, not just someone who has the keyless remote on them.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 57
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 29,906member
    I don't want them to replace my car key, I want them to replace my car!

    Let's see an autonomous electric that makes sense for 90% of the population from Apple. If it happens anytime in the next five years, it'll be a blockbuster.
    watto_cobralostkiwi
  • Reply 13 of 57
    Boy we are in trouble nowadays when we run out of battery.
    tallest skilcropr
  • Reply 14 of 57
    Is there a way it could work with Apple Watch alone in addition to iPhone? That would provide a "spare key" possibility for a lot of people in case phone was lost/forgotten or out of juice.

    I worry that if phone not available, I would be SOL. At least with my car key, there is a built-in physical key as a backup if its battery died.

    I should add that I realize my actual key could be the backup (it works even if it is in my pocket). So lets hope the iPhone key capable cars still have a physical key.
    edited June 20 watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 57
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 29,906member
    Boy we are in trouble nowadays when we run out of battery.
    Maybe you'd still be able to look at your car and it would open.
    bonobobsmiffy31watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 57

    Toyota wants $500 for a Prius key. This will never happen. They want their $75 for your cabin air filter. 


    Toyota not alone on this, but it's even more annoying when you can get a filter for maybe $10 or $15, and it only takes a few minutes to install.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 57
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    Boy we are in trouble nowadays when we run out of battery.
    The hood ornament will be an Apple logo, and you can bend it down to reveal a male Lightning port that you can pop your iPhone on to unlock the car when it’s dead.  :p
    SpamSandwichjony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 57
    anomeanome Posts: 1,121member
    Toyota wants $500 for a Prius key. This will never happen. They want their $75 for your cabin air filter. 


    They want A$600 or something to update the maps. Given my phone has access to up to date maps and traffic information, it's not really worth it.

    Actually, for my Prius, I think they were only after about A$150 for a new key, which is still a lot, but the key already lets me just walk up and get in the car, without having to hit the button. And as long as the key is inside the cabin and someone's sitting on the driver's seat, you're good to go.

    It's quite easy to see how you could replace the key with a mobile device - either a phone or a watch. Just using Bluetooth LE instead of whatever the transponder in the key is doing. But you're quite right, the car manufacturers are the ones who have to implement this, and in part this comes down to whether they want to use the phone manufacturer's solution or their own bespoke solution. It ought to be a standard feature of Car Play (or the Android Car Play equivalent), but they might not want to sign on.

    The spoofing problem does need to be addressed, as does the fact that you don't trade in your car and phone on the same timescale, and when you trade in your car, you aren't going to give the buyer your phone. These shouldn't be insurmountable problems, though.

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 57
    Wouldn't you have to replace your entire car to do this? Seems like an expensive feature.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 57
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,288member
    Wouldn't you have to replace your entire car to do this? Seems like an expensive feature.
    Is that a serious comment?
    fastasleep
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