German engineering firm Bosch has launched an app known as Perfectly Keyless, which makes conventional vehicle keys a thing of the past.
“Bosch is taking the car key into the digital realm and making it available anywhere, anytime,” says Harald Kröger, president of the Bosch Automotive Electronics division.
With Perfectly Keyless, the smartphone replaces the analog vehicle key.
This concept can offer owners of private vehicles increased convenience, but where it really shines is in vehicle fleets with multiple drivers.
No more key handovers: fleet managers and logistics providers simply use the app to give drivers access to the vehicles.
“Bosch’s digital vehicle key gives fleets a boost towards greater connectivity,” Kröger says.
The company believes there is a huge market for its solution, which is making its world debut at the IAA Commercial Vehicles in Hannover: potential customers include some 15,000 logistics providers in Germany alone. Most of them manage at least a dozen vehicles and drivers.
At the core of the new system is an app that dispatchers and truck drivers both have on their phones. This makes it possible to grant vehicle access with just a few clicks.
Battery dead? No problem!
But what happens if the smartphone’s battery dies, or the device has gone missing? In the future, the vehicle key in the smartphone will work even if the phone battery is dead.
In that case, the phone and truck will communicate using near-field communication (NFC), a wireless protocol for sharing data over short distances.
Bosch plans to make it the “double hull” of its solution. If the smartphone is lost or stolen, and the app with it, the digital key can be simply deactivated online, thus blocking access to the vehicle. It cannot be opened and started until the fleet manager uses the app to provide another driver or a new phone with access to the truck.