Bosch’s Perfectly Keyless Turns the Smartphone Into a Car Key

Use a smartphone to unlock the car, ignite the engine, and lock the car again

Bosch’s Perfectly Keyless Turns the Smartphone Into a Car Key

By Staff Writer

It’s a scene most of us will be familiar with: in the mad morning rush, the car key is nowhere to be found. And anyone who has ever had both hands full with shopping bags will have wished that an “open sesame” was all it took to open their car door.

By turning the smartphone into a car key, Bosch will be putting an end to this irksome hunt for the key.

“Perfectly Keyless, our digital vehicle access system, means that drivers will be able to do without traditional car keys. It’s a great example of stress-free connected mobility,” says Harald Kröger, president of the Bosch Automotive Electronics division.

As drivers approach their vehicles, their smartphones are identified by the on-board sensors.

“Once this identification has happened, the vehicle is unlocked without any need for a physical key. Similarly, no key is needed to start the engine or to lock the car again at the end of a journey,” Kröger says.

Vehicle owners can also use an app to give other drivers permission to use their vehicles. In a secure process that is protected against unauthorized access, an additional virtual key will then be sent via the cloud to other smartphones. This will allow the providers of car-sharing services and the operators of vehicle fleets to manage access and keys flexibly.

perfectly keyless car locked

perfectly keyless car locked (Photo Credit: Bosch)

A stress-free, keyless journey

Perfectly Keyless is a digital car key. To use it, drivers download an app onto their smartphones, and connect their cars to the app. Once they have done this, the smartphone generates a one-off security key that fits their respective vehicle’s digital lock.

Perfectly Keyless uses a wireless connection to the on-board sensors to measure how far away the smartphone is, and to identify the security key. Once the distance between driver and vehicle is less than two meters, the car door is unlocked. Hunting for the car key is no longer necessary.

As soon as the vehicle has been unlocked, any predetermined individual settings, such as those for the rear-view mirror and seat position, are activated. And if Perfectly Keyless detects that the smartphone is in the vehicle, a touch of the start-stop button is enough to start the engine.

When the driver gets out of the car at the end of the journey, the system continues to keep a virtual eye on the smartphone. Once driver and phone have moved more than two meters away from the car, it is automatically locked securely. The system sends an acknowledgment to the driver’s smartphone.

perfectly keyless app

perfectly keyless app (Photo Credit: Bosch)

Individual key management

Car owners can use Perfectly Keyless to make their cars available to others, such as family members and friends. Instead of handing over the key personally, parents can simply use the app to grant their children access to the family car.

The system generates a further individual security key, and sends it via the cloud to the smartphone. So that each user’s settings can be personalized, each key is unique.

The Perfectly Keyless system also works for entire vehicle fleets. Users can be granted and blocked access digitally, subject to geographical and time limits if so desired. This allows fleet operators such as car hire companies, providers of car-sharing services, and businesses in general to manage their vehicle keys digitally, using an app and the cloud.

Additional questions and answers

For Perfectly Keyless to work, what hardware does my car need to have?

Automakers will have to install proximity sensors and a control unit as fixed features in their vehicles. These sensors measure how far away the driver’s smartphone is from the car. They also register what direction the driver is approaching from. The control unit administers the digital security key and ensures that smartphone, cloud, and vehicle systems communicate smoothly.

What if a user loses their smartphone?

If the smartphone is lost, and the app with it, the digital key can be deactivated online. This blocks access to the vehicle, both for authorized persons and third parties. A new smartphone can be connected with the vehicle at any time, and a new unique security key generated. In the interim period, the conventional vehicle key will work as usual.

How does Perfectly Keyless differ from the keyless entry systems already in the market?

Today’s keyless entry systems still feature a physical key fitted with a chip, which drivers still have with them in their pocket or handbag. The first app-based digital access systems are now being used by sharing services to cut out the complicated task of keeping track of car keys. To get in or to drive off, users request access by smartphone before each journey. With Perfectly Keyless, simply having a smartphone in one’s pocket is enough. The vehicle access system automatically unlocks the vehicle as soon as the driver and smartphone come close. There is no need for a key, chipcard, or swipe of the smartphone touchscreen.

Which mobile operating systems does Perfectly Keyless work with?

The systems supports devices using any of the common operating systems.

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