(Pocket-lint) – Google has confirmed that it will be offering Digital Car Key services and that they will be available from fall/autumn 2021.
Announced at Google I/O 2021, the Digital Car Key will offer a similar experience to Apple CarKey that was announced at WWDC 2020 and was available since iOS 13.
The Google system will use NFC and UWB (ultra-wideband) technology for authentication and unlocking and to make sure that the system is secure.
Of course there needs to be support from the car you’re trying to unlock and Google has confirmed that it will work on some BMW models – it’s no coincidence that BMW was the first to support Apple’s equivalent.
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Digital Car Key offers a range of convenience features. Because it uses UWB, it’s more secure than traditional radio keyfobs that offer handsfree unlocking, because the range is a lot more accurate and you can’t use relay attacks to remotely unlock a car.
Digital Car Key also means that you can “lend” your key to someone else, letting you provide access to your car on a temporary basis.
Of course, if you want to use UWB you’ll have to have a phone that offers UWB too and currently in the Android space there aren’t many models that do – it’s only a handful of Samsung phones.
Google did confirm that it would work on “select Pixel” devices, a solid hint that we’re going to get UWB in a future Pixel, likely the rumoured Pixel 6.
The timing of the availability of the service suggests that you’ll need to get that Pixel 6 running Android 12 to get Digital Car Key, but we’ll keep our ear to the ground and update you as we learn more.
Writing by Chris Hall.