I know I’ve held a more than a few bulky key fobs in my hand and wondered aloud why my phone couldn’t simply unlock the car. Clearly, Volvo had the same thoughts.
Starting for the 2017 model year, Volvo will the world’s first automaker to offer cars without a key at all. Instead, owners will use a smartphone app to unlock and start the engine.
Utilizing the Bluetooth connection between both the car and your smartphone, as soon as you near the car the Bluetooth digital key communicates with and unlocks the car. Without skipping a beat, you simply grab the door handle, open the door and sit down.
Plus, sharing a car would be even easier. Rather than struggling to keep one or two key fobs circulating through a family, they can simply keep the digital key on their phone giving them unfettered access to the car at all times. On second thought, that might be a bad idea. Whatever.
This technology has far larger applications than simply keeping a bulky key fob from your pocket or in-family car access. In the future, when car sharing is more prevalent, you could reserve, locate, unlock and start a shared car — all with your phone. Plus, with your phone on hand, the shared car can immediately sync your personal settings like Spotify list, etc.
It’s unclear whether the app would let you locate a parked car and whether you could revoke access in the event that you lost your phone. We’ve reached out to Volvo to ask and will update this post if we hear back.
Of course, if you want a key with your brand-new Volvo, you can still have one.