The iOS 14 code reveals that Apple works with BMW on the “CarKey” function

BMW may be the first automaker to support CarKey

9to5Mac, reported in February that Apple is developing a new ” CarKey ” feature that will allow drivers to replace the keys with their iPhone.

Now, without going into details, the site reports new evidence found in the iOS 14 code, indicating that BMW will be the first automaker to support CarKey  when the feature is released.

When asked about his involvement in the project, BMW replied:

Please understand that at this point we cannot confirm your request or provide you with further details.

The German automaker stressed in a December press release its commitment to a global digital key standard .

“The BMW Group led the creation of a global standard for access to digital vehicles within the Car Connectivity Consortium (CCC),” read the statement. “The best-known smartphone manufacturers and automotive manufacturers have already joined the consortium. The standard specifications in all sectors will also help to include all types of smart devices, including phones, watches and other wearable devices. “

Apple is also part of the CCC.

In June 2018, the group released information on the Digital Key Release 1.0 specification , an NFC solution that allows authenticated smart devices to lock, unlock, start the engine and share access to a specific car.

The CCC recently recently updated the standard to version 2.0:

The Digital Key Release 2.0 standard takes advantage of NFC, a short-range wireless connectivity standard for contactless communication between devices such as smartphones or tablets. CCC uses existing industry standards such as NFC as far as possible to ensure high interoperability between vehicles and a wide range of industrial devices.

CCC is currently working on Digital Key Release 3.0 , which will use Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and Ultra-Wideband (UWB) technology to offer passive and keyless access based on location. The latest iPhone models support both BLE and UWB, the latter limited to precise sharing of AirDrop files.

Relevant for Apple, version 3.0 will take advantage of the UWB, or ultra-broadband chip, introduced on iPhone with iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max. Apple currently uses the UWB chip only for a small AirDrop improvement.

In the future, this new chip will also be used in other devices, including the AirTag

BMW describes how UWB will be useful for the digital key:

In the near future, the specifications of the digital key will be enhanced by version 3.0 based on ultra-wideband (UWB). This will offer maximum theft protection and allow precise location between the device and the vehicle. As a result, the mobile phone no longer needs to be held directly on the door handle to unlock the car, but can be conveniently left in your pocket.

Apple’s collaboration with BMW on Digital Key is no surprise. BMW was also the first automaker to adopt CarPlay technology.

CCC’s digital key standard also works with tablets, although it’s unclear whether the iPad will work with Apple’s CarKey feature. To date, the company has included the UWB chip only in iPhones , although the iOS 13.4 beta code clearly refers to Apple Watch support .

This may suggest that CarKey will only require NFC chips found in several generations of iPhones, although it is possible that the next Apple Watch may be equipped with the UWB chip.

CarKey features

We expect CarKey to work to lock, unlock and start cars using the iPhone instead of a physical key. The digital keys  will be managed in the Apple Wallet app and will work with an option for authentication without passcode or Face ID for a faster experience. These digital keys  will also be shareable with the Messages app .

What do you think of this new feature? Let us know in the comments below!

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