Connected car moves into second gear with digital key specifications

The Car Connectivity Consortium has announced the publication of the Digital Key Release 1.0 specification to allow drivers to download digital keys onto their smart devices and use it for any vehicle.

The concept of a smart key for connected vehicles has already started to emerge in the real world, vehicle hire companies like ZipCar are making good use of the technology, though true interoperability is what the Car Connectivity Consortium is aiming to achieve. The early adopters are certainly making progress in this area, though for genuine market penetration, acceptance and normalisation, standardisation is an important process.

“We’re already seeing products in the market that are leveraging Release 1.0, and I believe that the forthcoming Digital Key Release 2.0 will have an even bigger impact on the industry as we meet needs for massive scalability,” said Mahfuzur Rahman, President of the Car Connectivity Consortium. “I’m enjoying this exciting journey with the CCC community as we change the way that drivers access any vehicle, and add further to the key functions that smart devices enable in our lives.”

The Release 1.0 specification provides a generalized deployment method that allows vehicle OEMs to securely transfer a digital key implementation to a smart device, using an existing Trusted Service Manager (TSM) infrastructure. This is of course a good start, but work on the Digital Key Release 2.0 specification has already begun, bringing in member companies including Apple, Audi, BMW, General Motors, LG Electronics, Gemalto, NXP, and Qualcomm.

The 2.0 specification is targeted for release in the first quarter of 2019, with the aim to provide a standardized authentication protocol between the vehicle and smart device. Release 2.0 will hope to deliver a fully scalable solution to reduce development costs for adopters and ensure interoperability between different smart devices and vehicles.

“BMW sees high value in a standardized digital key ecosystem driven by the CCC,” said Alexander Maier of BMW. ”Leveraging all benefits of Release 2.0 will enable a scalable solution, interoperable with all smart devices and vehicles delivering a superior user experience to our customers.”

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