Car makers meet tech firms to thrash out mobile Digital Keys

Published in MobileEurope April 25, 2024

The Car Connectivity Consortium (CCC) is working on standards to let mobile phones securely open cars, but customer perception will be the key

The Car Connectivity Consortium (CCC), a veritable who’s who of auto manufacturers and big tech, gathered in Ulm, Germany this past week to test the latest version of the CCC Digital Key specification – an interoperability certification standard launched last December. The certification mark signals to consumers, partners, and stakeholders that the product meets industry and program standards for the best device-to-vehicle connectivity experience.

The German get-together was the eighth Plugfest for this organisation and its members, and this time included participants from BYD, CARIAD, COMPRION, Continental, Google, Huf Hülsbeck & Fürst, Marquardt and Qualcomm and served to further refine the CCC Digital Key applications, enhancing implementations, specifications, test suites and tools.

Specifically with release 3 version 1.1.3, this Plugfest focused on incorporating ultra-wideband (UWB) and Bluetooth Low-Energy (BLE) into the next CCC Digital Key Certification, building on the capabilities already included in the current programme.

The CCC members point out the CCC Digital Key Certification for NFC implementation is already live and the first products to reach certification are expected very soon.

“We believe vehicle-to-device access will soon be a standard, expected feature for consumers, and to do this, we must be able to deliver a seamless user experience and ensure security,” said Mercedes-Benz development expert Dirk Hassert. “The work done to incorporate UWB and BLE, here in Ulm and ongoing as a larger membership, makes certain we can optimise value for consumers and provide fully interoperable, secure implementations. We’re excited for the progress we made this past week and look forward to our continued advancements.”

“The automotive industry has worked for decades to make the driving experience more convenient through digital technologies. But unlocking the full potential of digital key, and accessibility technologies across the board, depends on a universally interoperable and secure standard,” said CCC president Alysia Johnson. “As an organisation committed to driving global progress, we remain steadfast in our dedication to creating that standard and are thrilled to have spent time collaborating in Germany, a hub for innovation and excellence.”

When the certification launched BMW’s Daniel Kuelzer pointed out exactly why car manufacturers are so keen to make it happen. “Displaying the CCC Digital Key mark will be a game changer for automakers because it tells customers they can access their cars securely and seamlessly with their smart device by simply identifying the mark,” he said.

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