Volvo to Unveil App-Linked Keyless Car

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By Jacob Maslow

Car manufacturer Volvo will be unveiling a vehicle that can be unlocked and switched on using a smartphone app at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next week.

Volvo plans to replace the physical car key with a shareable digital key using a Bluetooth-enabled smartphone app. The automaker believes that its innovative digital key technology will offer Volvo drivers entirely new ways to use and share cars with family, friends and co-workers.

“At Volvo we are not interested in technology for the sake of technology,” said Henrik Green, Vice President Product Strategy & Vehicle Line Management at Volvo Cars.

“Mobility needs are evolving and so are our customers’ expectation to access cars in an uncomplicated way,” adds Green.

A number of major car manufacturers already provide ways to access and start engines without a physical key, although many of them still require a physical key for the actual operation of the vehicle.

Ford, for example, lets vehicle owners locate and unlock their vehicle as well as control air conditioning using an Apple watch app.

Meanwhile, Tesla Motors allows Model S drivers to unlock and switch on the vehicle using an Internet-connected smartphone app after typing in a password.

Volvo, which sold 465,866 cars in 2014, plans to make the Bluetooth-linked keyless cars commercially available in 2017. The company said it will pilot its keyless technology in spring 2016 via its car sharing subsidiary Sunfleet, which is stationed at Gothenburg airport in Sweden.

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