BMW and Apple have teamed up to create a system which uses an iPhone app as a fully digital car key.
The new system will mean that drivers can unlock vehicles then activate them by placing the phone in its tray, then start by using a button on the dash. As well as an option to share the vehicle with up to 5 others, there are parameters that can be set such as how much power is available, how fast the car can go and even how loud the radio can get turned up. This is designed for young or inexperienced drivers.
From July 1st, these models will be able to use the system, which is being rolled out in 45 countries: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, X5, X6, X7, X5M, X6M and Z4.
If the phone battery dies, the keys will still function for up to 5 hours.
Also stemming from the same collaboration, BMW’s electric vehicle drivers will from next year be able use an iPhone to plan trips based on where the charging stations are.
Ford meanwhile has also added a range of complimentary features with the FordPass app which enables a variety of remote services, including checking on vehicle health, fuel and oil levels as well as locking and unlocking doors. Also the vehicle can be remotely started so for example the windscreen can be defrosted before setting off. And for those owners who loose their cars in giant car parks, the vehicle’s location is shown on the phone.
Fuel use can also be displayed with mileage and journey summaries, a tool designed of the fleet market. Also vehicle health can be checked, things like broken bulbs and tyre pressure can be flagged up in the app.
As well as charge level indicators, EV owners will benefit from off-peak electricity tariffs by enabling them to schedule vehicle charging.