Last month, at the WWDC 2020 conference, Apple introduced the new CarKey interface, which allows you to use the 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, explains AndroidInsider. By and large, there is nothing complicated, but idea could only be realized in Cupertino. But on Android you can still open a car using a smartphone, albeit with small conventions.
First of all, we should probably explain what CarKey is. This is such a software interface that forces the NFC module in the iPhone and Apple Watch to emulate the field characteristic of wireless keys for a car. That is, in fact, the user writes the key image into the memory of the smartphone or smart watch, and then puts them on the door handle and unlocks. The user can also transfer the key to someone close to iMessage by pre-setting their rights, for example, prohibiting starting the engine or opening the trunk.
How to replace CarKey on Android
Since CarKey is a system function, it is logical that on Android there is nothing of the kind. Another thing is that the operating system from Google has long been offering the opportunity to turn smartphones into virtual keys for cars using special applications, which are quite a lot. There are both universal solutions and specialized ones, compatible only with cars of specific brands through Blue Link technology. Here is a list of just a few of them:
- Graco bluelink
- Viper smartstart
This is only a part of Android applications with which you can remotely unlock and lock the car, monitor its condition, control leaks and fluids amounts, receive notifications of problems and the need for inspection, etc. Unlike CarKey, they all work from Bluetooth Low Energy, which is both their advantage and disadvantage.
What Android virtual keys can
- The car recognizes the driver’s smartphone from a few more meters due to the range of the Bluetooth connection. That is, you do not need to attach the device to the door handle to unlock;
- Thanks to the built-in system for storing a parking space, you will never lose your car even in a parking lot near large stores;
- Using the application, you can control all the systems of the car, for example, unlock a specific door, remotely start the engine, adjust climate control, etc.;
- It is possible to remotely shut off the engine and block it if the car has been stolen (only available on cars with LTE support);
- It is possible to send a virtual key to the loved ones, provided that they have a similar application installed and their smartphone supports Bluetooth Low Energy;
- The potential reach of cars that can be unlocked this way with a smartphone is much wider than those that support Apple’s CarKey;
- If the smartphone’s battery runs out, it will be no longer possible to open the car using the Android application, but NFC will do it one or two times;
- Due to the fact that auto control is only available through the application on Android, any breakdown that provokes its departure will leave you without a vehicle.
Despite the fact that quite a lot of applications are available on Google Play for a wide variety of cars, the manufacturers themselves set some restrictions on their use. For example, Hyundai Motor Group cars do not allow them to be controlled using proprietary applications based on BlueLink technology in Russia, notes NIX Solutions. At the same time, there are such applications that work regardless of the country and in fact allow you to replace CarKey with Android users.