Volvo to be first manufacturer to launch a car without a key

For decades, drivers have been accustomed to accessing and driving cars with physical keys. But no longer. In a ground-breaking move for the automotive industry, Volvo Cars plans to become the world's first car manufacturer to offer cars without keys from 2017.

Volvo customers will be offered an application on their mobile phones to replace the physical key with a digital key. The innovative Bluetooth-based digital key technology will offer Volvo customers far more flexibility, enabling them to benefit from entirely new ways to use and share cars.

The new Volvo app enables the digital key on the customer's mobile phone to do everything a physical key currently does, such as locking or unlocking the doors or the boot and allowing the engine to be started.

Using the app, people could potentially book and pay for a rental car anywhere in the world and have the digital car key delivered to their phone immediately. On arrival,the customer could simply locate the rental car via GPS, unlock it and drive away, avoiding those frustrating queues at airport or train station car rental kiosks.

Volvo owners will be able to send their digital key to other people via their mobile phones so that they can also use the car - this may include family members, friends or co-workers in a company.

Physical keys will continue to be offered for people who want them.