Future BMW Vehicles May Not Use Traditional Keys

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It looks like BMW automakers has been toying around with the idea of making traditional keys obsolete. The brand is contemplating the transition to a mobile app that enables remote lock and unlocking. This will completely replace a standard car key and even the fairly recent wireless key fobs.

According to BMW spokesperson Ian Robertson, there is no official plan for the switch, though it is an idea the higher-ups are entertaining. Robertson also emphasized the demand for such technology. It does, after all, mean one less item to keep in your pocket or purse. The app will also be able to start the car and shut it off.

There are two ways a mobile app can unlock a car. It can use near-field technology (NFC) or Bluetooth LE, or it could rely on Internet connection and send the request to the cloud. The latter still needs some fine-tuning, though, as it takes a few seconds for the app to relay the message to the cloud and back down to the car.

Mobile apps for unlocking cars are not novel technology. Under the German automaker's car share service BMW ReachNow, users already rely on apps for locking and unlocking the car door. 

The technology company NXP is working and refining such an app. It is currently working on building a chip into the door handle so a valet or friend of the car owner can also access this feature.

If such technology does become the norm, you can expect to see it throughout the BMW lineup. Models like the 2017 BMW X5 already have packages that include keyless fob entry. Speak with a car dealer near Fletcher, NC, to learn more about the latest technology.
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