Digital Car Key and Ultra Wideband Groups Team Up for Future Apple Car Keys Improvements

The way vehicles take advantage of new connectivity standards could be improving in the near future, leading to updates on how smartphones like the iPhone control cars.

bmw car key photo
This month, the Car Connectivity Consortium (CCC) and the FiRa Consortium that oversees the development of the Ultra-wideband (UWB) standard, announced a partnership for the future development of UWB features used for the CCC Digital Key function.

Apple is a member of both the CCC and FiRa. The CCC's Digital Key specification has been adopted by Apple for its Car Keys feature that allows the ‌iPhone‌ and the Apple Watch to unlock compatible vehicles over NFC. Select BMW, Kia, Hyundai, Mercedes, and Genesis vehicles work with Car Keys, but Apple undoubtedly wants to expand adoption.

The CCC and FiRa Consortiums will work together to "develop and maintain" the UWB technology specifications used for the Digital Key standard that serves as the basis for ‌Car Keys‌ on Apple devices. Apple engineer Jinjing Jiang will oversee the joint effort.

The partnership is expected to encourage broader adoption of UWB technology use in vehicles. As of now, UWB is used for the Digital Key standard to relay how close a user is to their vehicle, allowing a smartphone or wearable to be used for vehicle access or to start the car when at the appropriate range.

Apple uses UWB for the ‌iPhone‌, Apple Watch, and AirTag. UWB enables more precise location awareness and it powers features like Precision Finding for the ‌AirTag‌.

Along with Apple, CCC members include most vehicle manufacturers like Ford, BMW, GM, Honda, Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz, and more, while FiRa members include Apple, Google, Qualcomm, Cisco, Samsung, NXP, and more.

Popular Stories

iPhone 16 Pro Max Generic Feature 2

5 Biggest Changes Rumored for iPhone 16 Pro Max

Tuesday May 21, 2024 7:29 am PDT by
Given Apple's rumored plan to add an all-new high-end tier to its iPhone 17 series in 2025, this could be the year for Apple to bring its boldest "Pro Max" model to the table — the kind of iPhone 16 upgrade that stands tall above its siblings, both figuratively and literally. If you have been holding out for the iPhone 16 Pro Max, here are five of the biggest changes rumored to be coming...
iOS 17

Apple Releases iOS 17.5.1 With Fix for Reappearing Photos Bug

Monday May 20, 2024 10:11 am PDT by
Apple today released iOS 17.5.1 and iPadOS 17.5.1, minor updates to the iOS 17 and iPadOS 17 operating system updates that came out last September. The 17.5.1 updates come a week after the launch of iOS 17.5 and iPadOS 17.5. iOS 17.5.1 and iPadOS 17.5.1 can be downloaded on eligible iPhones and iPads over-the-air by going to Settings > General > Software Update. According to Apple's...

iPhone SE 4 With Face ID Said to Be Priced Below $500

Monday May 20, 2024 3:43 am PDT by
Apple is targeting a sub-$500 starting price for its upcoming fourth-generation iPhone SE model despite a raft of rumored upgrades coming to the more affordable device. According to leaker Revegnus on X, the U.S. launch price of the fourth-generation iPhone SE will either remain at the same $429 starting price as the current model, or will see an increase of around 10%. Either way, Apple's...
microsoft surface pro qualcomm

Microsoft Says New Surface Pro is Faster Than 15" M3 MacBook Air

Monday May 20, 2024 3:19 pm PDT by
Microsoft is going all in on AI, today introducing a series of Copilot+ PCs that have AI-focused hardware. The new Surface Pro is one of the first Copilot+ PCs, equipped with Qualcomm's Arm-based Snapdragon X Elite processor. Microsoft is already pitting the Surface Pro against Apple's M3 MacBook Air, and in marketing materials, claims that the Surface Pro has superior processing power and...
iPhone 15 Pro Cameras

iPhone 16 Pro Max to Feature New 48MP Wide and Ultra Wide Cameras

Tuesday May 21, 2024 3:36 am PDT by
Apple's iPhone 16 Pro Max will boast a bigger main camera sensor while both iPhone 16 Pro models will feature a 48-megapixel Ultra Wide camera for the first time, claims a rumor coming out of Asia. According to Weibo user OvO Baby Sauce OvO, the main camera of the iPhone 16 Pro Max will be based on an advanced custom 48-megapixel Sony IMX903 sensor. In contrast, the iPhone 16 Pro will use...

Top Rated Comments

FSMBP Avatar
27 weeks ago
I can't wait for this to be standard....The dream of leaving the house with just my Apple Watch to unlock my car (obviously, having a backup keycard like Tesla's).

I just hate keys!!!
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jz0309 Avatar
27 weeks ago
and when I look at the photo in the article, holding an iPhone near the door handle - I prefer that bulky key fob in my pocket
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
nutmac Avatar
27 weeks ago
I wish Tesla was more opened to these standards.

Outside NACS, just about everything they do is proprietary. That attitude comes at the expense of inconveniencing customers.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Mr_Ed Avatar
27 weeks ago

and when I look at the photo in the article, holding an iPhone near the door handle - I prefer that bulky key fob in my pocket
Agree. I enabled phone access on my car more as a backup than anything else. My current fob is lighter than on my last car so that’s what I use. Put my hand in the door handle and it unlocks. Pretty simple.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Darth Tulhu Avatar
27 weeks ago
I'm of the mind that this is all well and good as long as I still have keys to my car. I don't like the idea of not being able to get in my vehicle if my battery dies or I lose my phone.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
subjonas Avatar
27 weeks ago

Actually no; I have it on my BMW and you need to very close to the handle. NFC type distance.
Hmm but that might be different from this UWB standard maybe

Edit- what technology are these proximity sensing key fobs using, anyone know?
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)