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Volvo aims to kill off car key by 2017. Image by Volvo.

Volvo aims to kill off car key by 2017
Volvo wants to be first carmaker to make a physical car key redundant.
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What's all this about?

Keyless entry and go - it means the car's physical ignition/entry key can remain in the owner's pocket or handbag while said owner goes through the process of getting in, starting the vehicle and driving off. Well, Volvo is going to take it a step further and get rid of the key altogether.

Eh? How on Earth will that work?

Instead of a lump of plastic and metal that you have to cart around on a keyring, Volvo will instead offer customers an app, through which they can get a digital key. This key, which works via Bluetooth, allows the car's doors, boot, windows and ignition all to be controlled by a smartphone, doing away with the car key altogether. The benefits are that this digital key can then be sent to other app-equipped smartphones, so that friends and family can drive the Volvo using their own handsets, or - if the owner is hiring a different Volvo somewhere else in the world - then a new ignition key can be sent to them instantaneously.

When will we see this science fiction hocus-pocus?

Sooner than you think. Volvo will demo the technology at the Mobile World Congress 2016 in Barcelona at the end of February, before installing it on its car-sharing firm Sunfleet, which is based at Gothenburg airport in Sweden. Following that, a limited number of commercially available vehicles will be equipped with the tech in 2017, so Volvo buyers might be going keyless by next year.

Why is Volvo doing this?

Allow Henrik Green, vice president of Product Strategy & Vehicle Line Management at Volvo, to explain: "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 whomever the owner wishes."

Matt Robinson - 22 Feb 2016

Volvo digital key. Image by Volvo.Volvo digital key. Image by Volvo.Volvo digital key. Image by Volvo.     - Volvo road tests
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