Google is building a system in Android 12 that allows you to use your phone as a replacement for your car key. Although the system will initially only work with a specific combination of smartphones and car models.
Digital car key
Google wants your phone to play a central role in your car. The result of that thought is Android Auto and the more deeply integrated Android Automotive. With Android 12, your phone will also be able to serve as a key to unlock your car, Google announced during the I / O conference.
Initially, the digital car key will only work if you have a very specific combination with the correct smartphone and car that supports it. You will initially only be able to use Pixel phones and Samsung devices to access a vehicle, and the system will only work on specific BMW vehicles.
That is how it works
There are two ways your car can work like a car key: the first with NFC or ultra-wideband (UWB) technology. With NFC you have to take your phone out of your pocket to unlock, but with UWB that is no longer necessary. UWB is a wireless technology that can calculate the distance between you and your car to within 5 centimeters.
In fact, many Honda, Ford and General Motors cars that work with Android Auto Wireless have the necessary technology to work with Android Auto through UWB. For a lot of others, NFC could work to unlock using your phone.
Google is also working on a way that you can connect Android Auto to a car more quickly. That now requires several taps of your finger in the sometimes confusing interface of the infotainment system. This can be done faster, according to Google, with a Fast Pair function. Unfortunately, not all cars will support this new way yet, as Google is the first to work with BMW and Ford on the technology.
Android Auto in the BMW iX
Google also started a new collaboration on security chips in smartphones. These can play a role in the digital car key. On Google I / O, the company said Android Auto now works with 100 million compatible cars. In addition, more works are going to work with Android Automotive. You can read all about it here.