Speaking at the Frankfurt Motor Show, BMW AG member of the board of management for sales and brand, Ian Robertson, told Reuters the car key is about to face a technical revolution.
“Honestly, how many people really need it,” he said. “They never take it out of their pocket, so why do I need to carry it around?”
Robertson explained with keyless entry and start/stop now mainstream, the need for a traditional key unit is becoming obsolete, and that BMW is investigating ways to rid them altogether.
“We are looking at whether it is feasible, and whether we can do it. Whether we do it right now or at some point in the future, remains to be seen,” he explained.
Reuters reports BMW is reviewing the possibility of customers being able to unlock and start their vehicles using an app on their smartphones, but it remains to be seen if customers would be willing to ditch the traditional car key or key fob in favour of an app on their personal phone.
Tesla is likely to drop the key fob for its Model 3, instead replacing it with a credit-card sized ‘pass’, which you can keep in your wallet.
Other manufacturers have experimented with keyless systems including Jaguar, which offers a waterproof bracelet for opening or locking the F-Pace instead of a key. The bracelet allows owners to leave the traditional key in the car while enjoying outdoor activities that could damage it.