Volvo drivers will be able to use an app on their smartphone to access their car rather than having a physical key from 2017.
The app enables the digital key on the customer’s mobile phone to do everything a physical key currently does, such as locking or unlocking the doors or the boot and allowing the engine to be started.
Customers will also be able to receive more than one digital key on their app, allowing them to access different Volvo cars in different locations depending on their changing mobility needs.
Using the app, people could potentially book and pay for a rental car anywhere in the world and have the digital car key delivered to their phone immediately. On arrival, a customer could locate the rental car via GPS, unlock it and drive away, avoiding queues at airport or train station car rental desks.
Volvo owners will be able to send their digital key to other people via their mobile phones so they can also use the car. This may be to family members, friends or work colleagues.
Volvo will pilot this technology in spring 2016 via its car-sharing firm Sunfleet, stationed at Gothenburg airport, Sweden. A limited number of commercially available cars will be equipped with the new digital key technology in 2017.
Physical keys will continue to be offered for people who want them.
Henrik Green, vice president of product strategy and vehicle line management at Volvo Cars, said: “At Volvo, we are not interested in technology for the sake of technology. New technology has to make our customers’ lives easier and save them time. Mobility needs are evolving and so are our customers’ expectation to access cars in an uncomplicated way.
“Our innovative digital key technology has the potential to completely change how a Volvo can be accessed and shared. Instead of sitting idle in a parking lot the entire day, cars could be used more often and efficiently by whoever the owner wishes.”