Physical car keys could soon be a thing of the past as Bosch has developed a new smartphone-based app designed to replace them.

Called Perfectly Keyless, Bosch says the app carries over all of the functionality of a physical key but is much safer due to the significantly reduced risk of theft and key cloning.

Each digital key is unique to a user’s smartphone and connects wirelessly to the car. The car automatically unlocks once the owner is within two metres of the vehicle and activates predetermined settings such as seat and mirror positioning.

As the key operates using near-field communication (NFC) even if your phone battery runs out the digital key will still function. If the phone carrying the key is lost or stolen it can also be deactivated to avoid vehicle theft.

The main benefit of this technology, Bosch says, is its application for vehicles that have multiple users. Each vehicle user will get a unique digital key removing the need to organize key handovers in the future.

Bosch will demonstrate the technology at the IAA Commercial Vehicle show in Hannover on 19 September.

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