At WWDC last year, Apple introduced a new car key feature as part of iOS 13.6. This feature allows drivers to replace their physical car keys with their iPhone. An update to the Digital Key Release specification later this year will add support for Ultra Wideband and Bluetooth Low Energy connectivity…
The new update was ad today by the Car Connectivity Consortium, of which Apple is a member. The Digital Key 3.0 specification will be made available to Apple and other members of the consortium by the middle of this year.
For Apple, this means that it will be able to upgrade the Car Key feature with support for the Ultra Wideband U1 chip that is found in devices such as the iPhone 11 and iPhone 12. The Car Connectivity Consortium touts that this will allow devices to operate safely. and precise distance measurements to unlock the user’s car.
Digital Key Release 3.0 addresses security and usability by authenticating the digital key between a vehicle and the mobile device via Bluetooth Low Energy, then establishing a secure telemetry session with UWB, which allows the vehicle to perform a measurement of secure and precise distance to locate the mobile device.
Mobile devices create and store digital keys in secure elements that provide the highest level of protection against hardware or software attacks. The UWB exchange also generates critical cryptographic parameters in the secure elements to ensure the utmost security when locating the device on the vehicle and thus authorizing the user to access and drive the vehicle.
More details remain unclear, this is a notable update to the technology and it takes advantage of Apple’s U1 chip. The CCC also emphasizes that this “new specification will allow consumers to use their mobile device as a digital key in hands-free mode.” BMW previously announced plans to integrate Ultra Wideband support into its Digital Key Plus platform from Europe later this year.
While waiting for the full release of the Digital Key 3.0 specification and subsequent updates from Apple for Car Key, you can learn more about how the current version of Car Key works in our in-depth guide here.
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