Apple, Samsung, LG, Panasonic and others developing technology to replace car keys with your smartphone

By Shubham Sharma | Updated 22 Jun 2018
Apple, Samsung, LG, Panasonic and others developing technology to replace car keys with your smartphone
  • The Digital Key Release 1.0 specification has been announced and its successor, version 2.0, is under development by the aforementioned smartphone manufacturers.

Car Connectivity Consortium (CCC) has announced the publication of the Digital Key Release 1.0 specifications, which are available for all of their member companies. This new specifications will help the member companies develop new features for unlocking a vehicle and starting its engine when a “Smart device” is in proximity and within the vehicle.


The CCC is a cross-industry collaboration between various companies for developing global standards and solutions for smartphones and in-vehicle connectivity. Apple, Samsung, Qualcomm, LG, Panasonic, Audi, BMW, General Motors, HYUNDAI, and some more companies are CCC’s charter members, who are collaborating for the development of the next 2.0 specification of the Digital Key Release.

As per CCC, the Digital Key will be available for all CCC member companies and will enable drivers to “download the digital key onto their smart devices and use it for any vehicle.” Alongside locking and unlocking their car, users will also be able to lock and share access to their vehicle using their smart devices, which could most likely be your smartphone as the Release 1.0 specification states the use of NFC for leveraging the mentioned functionalities. The Release 2.0 is expected to be completed by Q1 2019 and will provide a “standardized authentication protocol between the vehicle and smart device. Release 2.0 will deliver a fully scalable solution to reduce development costs for adopters and ensure interoperability between different smart devices and vehicles,” states CCC.  

Even though smartphone manufacturers are working on the development of this Digital Key Release specification, there is no guarantee that the functionality will be integrated into smartphones by next year. In addition, there needs to be tantamount importance given to security so that there are no vulnerabilities to exploit. A previous report stated that Apple could bring contactless payment and secure authentication feature for iPhones with iOS 12, but that didn’t happen. It was reported that there could be some changes to the existing NFC chips embedded in the present iPhones so that they can be used with the aforementioned features.

Shubham Sharma
Working on a miniaturised version of the Arc Reactor.

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