The car on and complete by mobile phone? This is already today, with some manufacturers, a reality, if you are next to a vehicle with abonniertem Connectivity service-the networking of the car is of the coin – the appropriate App on their Smartphone. But soon the mobile phone will replace the traditional car key more and more often when the engine is started. This did not last when car sharing, and for professional drivers great benefits. But until then, there are still a few questions to clarify.

Currently, the On – and Lock the car via an App for Offers like Mercedes me and BMW ConnectedDrive in the first line Gimmick. Or in the best case, a way for forgetful drivers, to check remotely whether you have completed your vehicle properly. But there are also quite tangible and practical fields of application for virtual car keys. So car manufacturers are testing the delivery of packages in the trunk: The messenger receives on his Smartphone with a single-use code that opens the Luggage compartment for delivery. The engine start is not possible, of course.

Simply the cell phone to the door handle

As a full-fledged car keys, holding the phone acts today, but only in exceptional cases. About Mercedes-Benz: There is the buyer of a new E-class are able to order Recently, the Option “digital car key”. For 120 euros, the Smartphone can be up to four cars to network, to Unlock the vehicle, the telephone must be kept only on the door handle. The engine start button is released, as soon as the device is detected in the interior.

Need a Smartphone with NFC technology (Near Field Communication), as well as a special Secure SIM card that allows an encrypted signal transmission. Mercedes self-praise the technology as a “step in the future”, and examines, apparently, whether it is a business model in there, because after three years of regular fee is due. The clientele accesses courageously, currently seems rather unlikely. Finally, the everyday practical advantage to the long-popular auto-Smart-Key-locking systems only in the fact that, in addition to the phone not the car keys, bulges in the jacket pockets.

The potential Superiority of the digital key is not playing in the Mercedes model, by contrast, fully: to Open and Start no tangible item more necessary, not applicable to the driver or vehicle change, the need for handover of the keys. Instead of the de facto possession of the key, the driving privilege will be passed virtually, and exchanged and, if necessary, also be withdrawn. Potentially many virtual part – time or full-time key are so infinitely possible. Mercedes limited the number per car to three. Just enough for husband, wife and adult child.

But how secure is the technology?

The flexibility of digital car key is mainly used for car-sharing provider, car rental companies and operators of commercial fleets is interesting. Also, trucking companies are among the target customers. Bosch, for example, has recently presented at the IAA commercial vehicles is a Truck variant of its 2020 passenger Cars announced technology. Also, the supplier relies on the NFC technology, which is supposed to work thanks to the low energy consumption even at empty cell phone battery. The advantages of the mobile locking system in the Truck, in principle, the same as in the Car: for example, the MRP can manage ducks in the forwarding driving privileges by the click of a mouse. The driver must obtain a physical key, but a need for service the beginning of your Smartphone. Equally simple is the resistance manages to call the travel authorization.

Until the technology starts in the width, however, has yet to solve practical, legal, and technical problems. The latter, for example, the Car Connectivity Consortium, including Apple, Samsung, Vodafone, BMW, and General Motors taking care of have joined together. Basis technology is the key, because the industry is largely agreed to be the widely used standard technologies, NFC and Bluetooth. Development needs, however, there are still at user-friendliness, user-friendliness and, not least, the security. Because the virtual keys can be stolen, easily copied, like their real-life counterparts.

Interesting for freight forwarders

Also in legal and practical questions, some answers are still to come, not least from the point of view of the insurance industry. The Alliance is about wants a log function that stores, who drove the vehicle last. In addition, the question of how, without the key the theft of a car can be used to prove for the insurance industry. So far, the Keeper sent the keys of the stolen vehicle with his insurance to get the damage replaced. With virtual copies, this is no longer possible without Further ADO.

The Alliance therefore calls for the use of virtual keys as restrictive as the physical precursor and to prevent the uncontrolled reproduction technically. In addition, it should give each car a list of the authorized vehicle user, the customer can not change alone.

Whether the idea of the virtual key when the more conservative German private cars puts drivers through, depends not least on the administrative handling and the practical usability of the technique. How expensive such a change in the phones? Or what happens with Bluetooth keys with an empty battery? In the commercial sector, freight forwarders and car-sharing providers, are likely to be the practical benefits, however, so large that the phone will be key relatively quickly Standard.