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Digital car keys are here. Are we ready?

Image: BMW

First we had hand cranks. Then real keys, followed by key fobs. And now we have “digital keys,” which enables you to lock, unlock, and start your car from your phone.

Digital keys are still rare, only offered in a handful of models. Before digital key technology can reach ubiquity, there are still a lot of issues that need to be worked out. What kinds of technology should be used: Near-field communication (NFC)? Ultra wideband (UWB)? Bluetooth? How do we ensure it’s safe from hackers? And what happens when your phone runs out of batteries? (Spoiler: it will still work.)

Many automakers already offer digital keys, but it hasn’t always worked flawlessly. Tesla said it was only going to do digital keys for the Model 3, but later opted for…

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