Volvo are planning to kill off the car key, and replace it with a Bluetooth App on a smartphone for unlocking and driving your car.
For as long as any of us can remember, you’ve needed a key to open and drive a car. True, most cars these days come with ‘keyless’ open and start, but there’s still a physical fob/key/zapper to maker it all happen. But not for much longer at Volvo.
Volvo has announced they plan to drop physical key fobs completely from next year (2017) and replace them with a Bluetooth App which, say Volvo, will offer far more flexibility and convenience.
The Bluetooth App will not only lock, unlock and start the car, but it can also be shared with whoever you want so you could, for example, send the ‘key’ to family or friends you trust with your pride and joy.
What the keyless app also means is no more queueing to pick up a hire car and grab keys, as the key App will be sent to you when you confirm your booking, so you can pick up and drop off in much less time and with much less hassle.
It looks to us that this is Volvo rolling out to customers much the same technology they use to deliver stuff to the boot of your Volvo, and it all makes a lot of sense now one and all are surgically attached to their smartphones.
Yes, there are potential issues, but none that make the Bluetooth App worse than a real key/fob; hacking current keyless technology is rife (just ask Range Rover owners) you can lose keys as easily as a smartphone, and a key dropped in a puddle is as useless as a wet smartphone.
That said, phones are far more likely to go flat than the battery in a key fob, and we’ve all had our phones freeze. But on balance, the App will be more convenient for owners, and cheaper for Volvo, so it’s a bit of a no-brainer.
Henrik Green, Product Strategy boss at Volvo, said:
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
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 has said you’ll still be able to have a physical key if you wish (although we wouldn’t mind betting there will be a charge once the App is fully rolled out), so the real Luddites are covered.
And we also hope you’ll be able to send the key app with an expiry time; what better way to make sure the kids get home at a reasonable time than letting them use your car and knowing if they’re not back at the agreed time the car won’t work and they’ll have to walk? Perfect.
Volvo Keyless Car Video