Jul 5, 2018

2 min

Digital Key For Automotive: Car Makers Now Have a Standard

The Car Connectivity Consortium has recently announced digital car specification for smartphone.

The CCC is dedicated to cross-industry collaboration in developing global standards and solutions for smartphone and in-vehicle connectivity.

The first standardized solution (Digital Key Release 1.0) is designed to let drivers download the digital key onto their smartphones.

The Digital Key specification will be available to all CCC members. Among them are such giants as Audi, BMW, VW, Apple, Samsung, and others.

Turning smartphone into a car key

The concept ‘smartphone as a car door lock’ is not totally new. Several car manufacturers such as Tesla, Daimler, and BMW already use the solution. However, a uniform standard hadn’t been developed before.

The participating members of the CCC seem to be very interested in it. They expect a uniform, interoperable and open digital key standard that allows them to securely transfer a digital key implementation to a smart device, using an existing Trusted Service Manager (TSM) infrastructure. The infrastructure takes advantage of NFC distance bounding and a direct link to the secure element of the device.

The CCC is already working on Digital Key 2.0 specification that adds a standard authentication protocol between vehicles and a smart device. Digital Key 2.0 is targeted for completion in Q1 2019.

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Solution use cases

Digital key use cases include enabling drivers to lock, unlock, start the engine, and share access to their car – all from their smart devices.

There is an option to provide a key to any smart device. The device just should fulfill the technology and security requirements, using a backend or peer-to-peer mechanism. The Digital Key can be revoked by the car owner at any time.

Key provisioning can be also used by car sharing and rental agencies giving digital keys to the smart devices of the customer for the duration of the rental.

Key sharing is possible both remotely and in proximity.

If the car will be sold, the new owner can revoke all keys that have been provisioned during the previous ownership.

Key benefits

The CCC highlights various benefits of the ‘Digital key’.

  • The solution will allow car OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) achieving security, ease of use, and end-user data collection;
  • Device vendors – providing integrated solutions for smart home and transportation applications;
  • Rental companies – expanding privacy and flexibility, efficiently managing rentals, creating new business models;
  • Car sharing companies – securely transferring keys, streamlining vehicle management, driving new opportunities;
  • Transport enterprises – optimizing fleet management through smart device-based Digital Key solutions.

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