Volvo says it is time to put the past behind, as the Swedish brand plans to become the world’s first car manufacturer to offer cars without keys from 2017.
Even if the traditional metal keys have been largely replaced by the wireless technology found on those smart keyfobs, Volvo says it is not a thing for the future. But smartphones surely are, thus you will be able to open your car through a mobile application. The Swedish automaker plans to offer its customers such an app to replace the physical key with a Bluetooth-enabled digital key, for them to have far more flexibility, opening also new ways to use and share cars. This new approach will also offer customers the possibility to receive more than one digital key on their app allowing them to access different Volvo cars in different locations. Using the technology, drivers could potentially book and pay for a rental car anywhere in the world and have the digital car key sent to their phone immediately. On arrival, a customer could simply locate the rental car via GPS, unlock it and drive away.
“Mobility needs are evolving and so are our customers’ expectation to access cars in an uncomplicated way,” said Henrik Green, Vice President Product Strategy & Vehicle Line Management at Volvo Cars. “Instead of sitting idle in a parking lot the entire day, cars could be used more often and efficiently by whomever the owner wishes.” Volvo wants to start testing this approach in spring via its car sharing firm Sunfleet, which operates at Gothenburg airport, Sweden. A limited number of commercially available cars will be equipped with the new digital key technology in 2017, the company said. In 2015, the carmaker 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.