BMW: Smartphones Could Render Car Keys Useless

Sam McEachern
by Sam McEachern

BMW is studying the possibility of doing away with traditional car key fobs, saying a smartphone app could take their place.

In a recent interview with Reuters, BMW board member Ian Robinson revealed the automaker would like to one day do away with the key fob. With nearly all of its customers having a smartphone with access to the free BMW App, which allows customers to unlock their vehicle, having a key isn’t entirely necessary. Most new cars don’t even require a key to be inserted anywhere – as long as the fob is nearby, the push-button start will work, so the same could be achieved with an app.

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“Honestly, how many people really need it?” Robertson asked in an interview with Reuters. “They never take [the key fob] out of their pocket, so why do I need to carry it around?”

“We are looking at whether it is feasible [to get rid of the key], and whether we can do it. Whether we do it right now or at some point in the future, remains to be seen,” he added.

This seems like an inevitable advancement in the automotive industry, but we would miss having a nice tactile object to go along with our car. Personally, we’d much rather use BMW’s funky touchscreen display key for the i8 than a smartphone app.

[Source: Reuters]

Sam McEachern
Sam McEachern

Sam McEachern holds a diploma in journalism from St. Clair College in Windsor, Ontario, and has been covering the automotive industry for over 5 years. He conducts reviews and writes AutoGuide's news content. He's a die-hard motorsports fan with a passion for performance cars of all sorts.

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 1 comment
  • Smartacus Smartacus on Sep 17, 2017

    So Bimmers never go to valet like classy Vauxhalls, eh? Do you leave your Galaxy S8 with the undocumented immigrant attendant? Or will BMW provide a valet-phone in place of a valet-key? When someone is too drunk to drive, do the friends say hand over the phone (go use a payphone to call a cab while the friend orders stuff on Amazon)