BMW could be first automaker to use Apple ‘CarKey’

By Xite - March 24, 2020
The American tech giant Apple is working on a CarKey feature that would use Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and Ultra-Wideband (UWB) technology to offer location-aware keyless access. BMW is expected to th....

In February, Apple in the iOS 13.4 Beta version was reported to be working on a feature called ‘CarKey’ that would allow users lock/unlock cars using their iPhones. Now, according to 9to5Mac, new codes leaked in the iOS 14 has indicated that BMW could be the first automaker to support ‘CarKey’. The iOS 14 will be rolled out later this year for iPhones and iPads.

BMW didn’t confirm this fact, rather referred to a press statement revealing the German car maker’s commitment to a global Digital Key standard within the Car Connectivity Consortium (CCC), the report added.

Apple is also a part of CCC. A few other companies part of the CCC includes Audi, BMW, General Motors, HYUNDAI, LG Electronics, Panasonic, Samsung, and Volkswagen, NXP, Qualcomm Incorporated, etc.

Last year in October, the CCC announced Digital Key Release 2.0, which was a revised version of Digital Key Release 1.0, an NFC powered solution which allows authenticated smart devices to lock/unlock, start the engine. In the second version, the CCC added advanced security protocols by employing dedicated ‘tamper-resistant’ chips in a control device.

Currently, the CCC is working on Digital Key Release 3.0, which will use Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and Ultra-Wideband (UWB) technology to offer location-aware keyless access. Apple's latest iPhones including the iPhone 11 series support both BLE and UWB.

Apple ‘CarKey’ would use the NFC hardware on iPhone or on the Apple Watch, to communicate with the onboard computer on a car lock/unlock, and start a vehicle.

In November, Apple filed a patent describing a solution similar to CCC’s Digital Key 3.0, that uses both the Bluetooth Low Energy and UWB to provide keyless entry.

Presently, systems rely on a keyfob that contains a radio transmitter, which communicates with the target car when it is within range as a form of authentication. While the system is functional and seamless, Apple idea of using Bluetooth and Ultra-Wideband together would do the same task, but with more accuracy.

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