Car manufacturer Volvo plans to start selling cars without traditional car keys at the beginning of 2017 – using smartphones as replacements.


The new Volvo app is being piloted with a fleet of cars at Gothenburg Airport, Sweden in spring. The downloadable digital key is said to be able to do everything the traditional, physical car key currently does – locking, unlocking car doors and the boot and starting the engine.


Volvo have stated:


“The Bluetooth enabled smartphone would soon become the ‘digital keys’ and there would no longer be a need for a physical car key”


Henrik Green, Vice President for product strategy at Volvo Cars released the following statement:


“Our innovative digital key technology has the potential to completely change how a Volvo can be accessed and shared. Instead of sitting idle in a car park all day, cars could be used more often and efficiently by whoever the owner grants permission to.”


Volvo drivers would also be able to register more than one key to the digital app. The car firm say this new technology is also designed so drivers can book and pay for a rental car anywhere in the world and have the digital car key delivered to their phone instantly.


Car owners will also be able to send their digital key to family members, friends and colleagues so they can also drive their Volvo.


It is still unclear regarding action that would need to be taken if a driver’s phone is out of battery charge or if the car is stolen.


Added Martin Rosenqvist, new car director at Volvo:


“There are obviously many permutations when it comes to how this shared key technology can be used.


“We look forward to seeing how else this technology might be used in the future and we welcome any and all ideas.”


It is important to clarify that Volvo have promised buyers will still have a choice and can request traditional keys if they’d prefer them instead of the digital option next year.


The key technology will be shown for the first time at the Mobile World Congress 2016 in Barcelona next month.