Among the few things untouched by digital is the humble key. Of course, there are locks and security systems that are completely digital. But the key — which comes in all shapes and sizes – has fended off this shift. Until now.
German automotive supplier Bosch says the key of the future is digital, and offers more features than its analog predecessors. The digital key is impossible to lose or steal and many people would agree, there is never a need to search for it.
That is because it is stored securely and specifically for each user in a smartphone app, according to the key. “Our Perfectly Keyless app is making 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.
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.
How It Works
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.
In the future, the Bosch solution will also allow logistics providers to completely integrate digital key management into their dispatch and scheduling systems, according to the company.
As soon as dispatch has assigned drivers and trucks to a route, the system automatically generates digital keys for the vehicles and sends them to the drivers’ smartphones. If the route scheduling changes, the software adjusts the keys accordingly. “Thanks to Bosch’s fully digital key management, logistics providers enjoy both security and flexibility in their planning. This is the only way the logistics of the future will be able to function efficiently,” Kröger says.
Key Management With App And Cloud
Bosch digital key management connects trucks and the smartphone app via the cloud. Dispatchers or fleet managers use the app to assign a truck to a driver for a particular route. Perfectly Keyless generates a personal, secure digital key and sends it via the cloud to the truck and to the driver’s smartphone.
As the driver approaches the assigned truck, the sensors installed in the truck detect the smartphone via a wireless connection. The vehicle doors will open only if the key on the phone “fits” the digital lock in the vehicle.
These sensors can also tell when the driver is in the driver’s seat, and the engine starts up as soon as the driver presses the start-stop button. When the driver gets out of the car at the end of the journey, the system detects this and automatically locks the doors.
Perfectly Keyless can offer owners of private vehicles increased convenience, but where it becomes really useful is in vehicle fleets with multiple drivers, according to Bosch.
That is because there will be no more key handovers: fleet managers and logistics providers have to simply use the app to give drivers access to the vehicles. “Bosch’s digital vehicle key gives fleets a boost towards greater connectivity,” Kröger said.