When you’re shopping for a new car at your local AutoNation dealer, chances are pretty high that it’ll have some sort of keyless entry feature. Many vehicles today even have start buttons, so you don’t even have to put the key in the ignition. But during the Frankfurt Auto Show, a BMW board member floated the idea that completely keyless cars could be around the corner.
In speaking to Reuters about keys, Ian Robertson said, “Honestly, how many people really need it? They never take it out of their pocket, so why do I need to carry it around?” As opposed to a traditional key or fob, he floated the idea that a smartphone app could be used to enter the vehicle, though he didn’t offer a time frame for when we could actually see it happen.
Now, there are plenty of cars which utilize smartphones to control some of a vehicle’s systems and settings, the most notable of which is probably the new Model 3 from Tesla. That said, we think it will probably be quite some time before we see tradition keys go the way of the dodo. The biggest barrier we can see right now, is likely security. Because as cars become more connected, the potential for malicious hackers to compromise them becomes a greater and greater threat, so there would have to be plenty of safeguards put in place to ensure only the owners will be able to hop in and drive away.
We have to say that while we think the keyless car is an intriguing idea, we think it’ll be awhile before the idea takes hold. Theft concerns aside, how much of a drag would it be to be locked out of your car because your phone ran out of juice? To be perfectly honest, we don’t see car keys ever going completely extinct. Sure, they might get relegated to the junk drawers as more convenient options become available. But we don’t really see a time when a manufacturer doesn’t give buyers a key at the point of sale — but we’ve been wrong before!