BMW Announces Feature That Turns U1 Chip Into Key

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In July 2020 we saw BMW add the Car Keys function in its application that allows you to connect an iPhone to your cars, now a big news is coming at CES 2021: the Digital Key Plus, which takes advantage of the U1 chip of the latest cell phones to make the Car Keys smarter and safer on the BMW iX.

BMW explained how its new feature will work, debuting on the BMW iX first:

As one of the pioneers in using a smartphone as a digital vehicle key since 2018, BMW is moving forward with the development and popularization of its BMW Digital Key feature, which is available to iPhone users today. In line with this goal, the premium car maker will introduce the BMW Digital Key Plus, a convenient and safe way to unlock and start your car without taking your iPhone out of your bag or pocket. This latest incarnation of the service is based on Ultra-Wideband (UWB) technology, the technology found on the iPhone’s U1 chip. The BMW Digital Key Plus feature will be launched for the first time with the BMW iX electric integrated into the iPhone chip.
Thus, with Digital Key Plus, it will be possible to use the ultrawide bands of the iPhone U1 chip to create a more reliable connection with your vehicles, making it more secure and efficient than the NFC, which was used by the Car Keys until now.

BMW claims to have worked in collaboration with Apple and the Car Connectivity Consortium to certify the third generation of Digital Key via ultrawide waves using chips like Apple’s U1.

Simply put, this means that soon we should see more cars adopting this solution, possibly first at BMW, which is already at the forefront of this technology right now. In addition, it is worth remembering that other smartphones already use the same technology that recently gained its own API on Android, so the compatibility list should grow in the future.

Remember that the BMW iX was announced in November 2020 by the automaker, learn more about it in our exclusive article about the car here.

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