Google Brings New Digital Keys for BMW Cars in Android

Tech giant Silicon Valley announces future digital keys for BMW and other automakers during its 2021 Google I/O developer event. New software is bound to allow car owners to lock or unlock their cars, just like the iOS-based BMW Digital Key. This time, it is now also available on Android-powered smartphones. Google says that the digital keys will become available on Samsung Galaxy and Pixel phones in late 2021. Moreover, it will be available and is one of the new features coming to Android 12. There are no specifics yet on which BMW models will get Android digital car keys. But, there are hints that it will be on some 2021 units and 2022 models.

Google Brings New Digital Keys for BMW Cars in Android

Technology-wise, this feature is as revolutionary as it is. The BMW Digital Key requires NFC on phones in order to work. That means, to lock or unlock the car, owners had to pull out their phones and touch the driver’s door handle. It seems a bit inconvenient though, yet it is still a fun feature to have. As for the new system, it uses Ultra-Wideband technology to do that. It is also the same feature that has been introduced on the iPhone’s U1 chip.

Google Brings New Digital Keys for BMW Cars in Android 1

This technology is a short-range and high-bandwidth digital radio technology. It comes characterized by precise localization with the greatest possible security. UWB also ensures that relay attacks, where jams in radio signals and interception, would not be possible. The German automaker mentions that Apple and BMW have been working on the Car Connectivity Consortium (CCC). It is to establish the Digital Key specification 3.0 UWB to provide a global standard in the automotive industry.

There is also something to wait for as Google mentions that it will be expanding the “fast pair” feature to cars. This feature allows users to pair their Bluetooth devices with a tap. Moreover, it will be available on a vast line of devices such as Beats headphones. Sameer Samat, VP of PM for Android and Google Play, mentions that it will be available as well on cars from Ford and BMW.

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