BMW has revealed its next-generation digital key technology, which now works when your phone is flat.
The Digital Key 2.0 will be able to lock or unlock the car, start the vehicle remotely, and give family members or friends access to the vehicle using the BMW Connected application.
UPDATE 23/06/2020: BMW has now expanded the availability of Digital Key to include access for iPhone users. Click here for more info.
Should your phone die, the company says it'll still be able to unlock your vehicle using near-field communication (NFC). The BMW Digital Key is currently only compatible with Android phones – even though BMW doesn't support Android Auto in its infotainment system, only Apple CarPlay.
Moving forward, BMW says its next-generation Digital Key will be more secure, based on technology that has been developed with the Car Connectivity Consortium (CCC).
According to the company, the latest ultra-wide-band (UWB 3.0) technology – a low-energy way to transfer data over a very short distance – means owners will eventually be able to leave their phones in their pockets to open the doors, rather than having to hold their device up to the door handles.
Ultra-wide-band communications also minimise the chances of "relay attacks", where thieves duplicate the digital frequency of keyless entry systems to unlock and start cars.
As part of its role with the Car Connectivity Consortium (CCC), BMW has been pushing for standardised security protocols for the automotive industry when it comes to digital and keyless entry systems.
The company says most prominent smartphone manufacturers and carmakers are now a part of the consortium, and global standards are coming.