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Volvo will (kinda) let drivers ditch car keys for phones

Car maker offers a limited trial of letting users unlock vehicles with their smartphones.

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From 2017, Volvo will offer its customers the option to ditch keys and buy a car that's only unlocked with your smartphone. The firm is piloting the technology for the rest of this year with car-sharing outlet Sunfleet, based in Sweden. Subsequently, a limited number of retail vehicles will be given the Tesla-like ability to have smartphone-only access as well as remote start. Since access to the ride will be entirely app-based, users will be able to swap digital keys with other people or simply add a rental car to their device's list of trusted cars.

Volvo's implementation isn't really about consumers, and we'd look at someone strangely if they flat out refused to pick up a key when offered. Instead, the firm is exploring how people will interact with their cars in the future and how car usage will change. For instance, self-driving cars won't sit in the car park while you're in the office, they'll ferry other people around during the day. Similarly, being able to share keys digitally makes it easier for car clubs and ride-sharing firms to manage their fleets. So, yeah, relax, Volvo's got an eye on how the future of transportation will shake out, you probably won't have to deal with it for a while.

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