Open your Audi e-tron with an NFC Android smartphone
Major insurance companies like Allianz warn for a rising tide of vehicle thefts due to new keyless entry and start systems. The latter allow drivers to open and start their car without taking the physical transponder key out of their pocket. Thieves are now using technology to bypass these systems, leading to an increased number of vehicle thefts.
Audi now says it has developed an app that does away with the need for a transponder key. With the Audi Connect Key app, available on Huawai P30 and other Android smartphones with NFC technology, you can unlock certain Audi models, including the all-electric e-tron, A6, A7 and A8, by holding the phone next to the door lock. Audi and Huawei claim that the NFC (Near Field Communication) technology - the same that is used for contactless payment - is safer than Keyless Entry.
To start the car, the phone has to be put in the wireless charging dock in the centre console. Because your phone is now your key, it goes without saying that it is strongly advised to protect it with a strong numeric code, swipe pattern or your fingerprint.
Volvo and Polestar too
The four-ringed brand from Ingolstadt isn't the only OEM lets you unlock its vehicles with a smartphone. Last year, the Car Connectivity Consortium, which includes carmakers as well as Apple and Samsung, agreed on a standard for using NFC phone pairing to open and start cars. At the 2019 Geneva Motor Show, Polestar announced they will be offering this feature, mainly to make their cars easy to share, as explained in the following video by Mike Whittington, Vice President, Global Sales Operations.
BMW, Mercedes, Tesla and Volvo already have similar technology on certain models, including the new BMW 3 Series and the Volvo XC40. Recently, Hyundai announced it would also be offering phone-as-key functionality on its cars.