Last month at WWDC 2020 Apple introduced a new CarKey interface that allows you to use iPhone as a key for a car. It is based on NFC technology, through which the smartphone establishes a connection with the car, and software algorithms that identify the user and allow you to configure the virtual key as needed for a specific situation. By and large, nothing complicated, but they were able to bring this idea to life only in Cupertino. But at Android, you can still open a car using a smartphone, albeit with a little convention.
CarKey is not an exclusive notion Apple
First, you should probably explain what CarKey is. This is a software interface that makes the NFC module in iPhone and Apple Watch emulate a field typical for wireless keys for a car. That is, in fact, the user writes the image of the key into the memory of a smartphone or smart watch, and then applies them to the door handle and unlocks. The good thing about CarKey is that the user can also transfer the key to someone close to them via iMessage, having previously configured his rights, for example, by prohibiting the engine from starting or opening the trunk.
How to replace CarKey with Android
Android allows you to turn your smartphone into a car key. An even more functional key than CarKey
Since CarKey is a system function, it is logical that there is nothing like that on Android. Another thing is that the operating system from Google has long offered the ability to turn smartphones into virtual keys for a car using special applications, of which there are quite a few. There are both universal solutions and specialized ones, compatible only with cars of specific brands through the Blue Link technology. Here is a list of just a few of them:
- My Hyundai
- Graco BlueLink
- Ford Pass
- Viper SmartStart
- my Chevrolet
This is only a part of applications for Android, with which you can remotely unlock and lock the car, monitor its condition, control leaks and the fullness of liquids, receive notifications about problems and the need to carry out a technical inspection, etc. Unlike CarKey, they all operate on Bluetooth Low Energy, which is both an advantage and a disadvantage.
What virtual keys can for Android
- Due to the range Bluetooth – the car connection is recognized by the driver's smartphone even a few meters away, that is, there is no need to apply the device to the door handle to unlock;
- Thanks to the built-in parking memory system, you will never lose your car, even in a parking lot near large stores like IKEA;
- Using the application, you can control all systems of the car, for example, unlock a specific door, remotely start the engine, set up climate control, etc.;
- It is possible to remotely turn off the engine and block it if the car is stolen (available only on cars with LTE support);
- It is possible to send a virtual key to loved ones, provided that they have a similar application installed and their smartphone supports Bluetooth Low Energy;
- The potential coverage of cars that can be unlocked in this way using a smartphone is much wider than those that support CarKey from Apple;
- If the battery of the smartphone is discharged, it will be impossible to open the car using the application for Android, but NFC will cope with it once or twice;
- Due to the fact that on Android car control is only available through the application, any breakdown that provokes its departure will leave you without a vehicle.
Despite the fact that there are quite a few applications available on Google Play for a wide variety of cars, the manufacturers themselves set some restrictions on their use. For example, the cars of the concern Hyundai Motor Group do not allow them to be controlled using proprietary applications based on BlueLink technology in Russia. Probably, there are some methods to bypass these restrictions, but you can read about them on thematic sites. At the same time, there are some applications that work regardless of the country and actually allow users to replace CarKey Android.
P.S. So not everything Apple does is copied by Google and other competitors. It turns out that something, on the contrary, Apple is peeping from them.