Audi, Apple, Samsung & More Agree to Standard for Smartphones as Keys

Technophiles not fond of overly loaded pockets take note, yet another daily need may soon be managed by your mobile device. As part of the Car Connectivity Consortion, Audi has joined with tech companies such as Apple, Samsung, LG Electronics, Panasonic, plus car companies including chief rival BMW (not to mention any number of others) on a technological standard for mobile device to vehicle communications that could see your mobile more readily replacing the key fob to your car.

The current tech known as Digital Key 1.0 is a standard is designed to create and interoperable digital key that would allow car owners to lock, unlock, start the engine and share access to the car from their smart device. There’s more. Owners can also transfer access to a Trusted Service Manager infrastructure distance bound… presumably to a dealership or repair shop or their vicinity.

Even with all of that being implemented already, the Car Connectivity Consortium has also begun to map out Digital Key 2.0. This development is the more breaking news, creating a standardized authentication protocol between the vehicle and the smart device for even more flexibility. Being part of the consortium means Audi will be one of the firs manufacturers to have access to this tech, with 2.0 is expected to be on the market in some form by the first quarter of 2019.

Below is the full press release from the Car Connectivity Consortium, including a quote from a representative from Audi AG.

Beaverton, OR,  – The Car Connectivity Consortium (CCC), an organization focused on enabling seamless mobile device-to-vehicle connectivity, today announced the publication of the Digital Key Release 1.0 specification. Available to all CCC member companies, this first standardized solution enables drivers to download the digital key onto their smart devices and use it for any vehicle.


  • The Digital Key specification was developed in order to create a robust ecosystem around interoperable digital key use cases, including allowing drivers to lock, unlock, start the engine, and share access to their car – all from their smart devices.
  • The Release 1.0 specification provides a generalized deployment method that allows vehicle OEMs to securely transfer a digital key implementation to a smart device, using an existing Trusted Service Manager (TSM) infrastructure. By leveraging NFC distance bounding and a direct link to the secure element of the device, CCC is assuring the highest state-of-the-art security level for vehicle access.
  • As the Release 1.0 specification provides a first standardized solution, the CCC has had a number of new member companies join the organization that believe in the Digital Key vision and future.
  • Given extensive interest from automotive and smartphone manufacturers as well as the supplier ecosystem, CCC has begun work on the Digital Key Release 2.0 specification. This specification is under development in collaboration between CCC’s charter member companies including Apple, Audi, BMW, General Motors, HYUNDAI, LG Electronics, Panasonic, Samsung, and Volkswagen, and core members including ALPS ELECTRIC, Continental Automotive GmbH, DENSO, Gemalto, NXP, and Qualcomm Incorporated.
  • Targeted for completion in Q1 2019, Release 2.0 will provide a standardized authentication protocol between the vehicle and smart device. By joining forces, Release 2.0 will deliver a fully scalable solution to reduce development costs for adopters and ensure interoperability between different smart devices and vehicles.

“I’m excited about the overwhelmingly positive response we’ve received from the industry to our standardized Digital Key solution, with new members signing up to help drive adoption and specification development,” said Mahfuzur Rahman, President, CCC. “We’re already seeing products in the market that are leveraging Release 1.0, and I believe that the forthcoming Digital Key Release 2.0 will have an even bigger impact on the industry as we meet needs for massive scalability. I’m enjoying this exciting journey with the CCC community as we change the way that drivers access any vehicle, and add further to the key functions that smart devices enable in our lives.”

Industry Quotes

Audi: “We are proud to offer the Digital Key service to our customers already in a lot of model series,” said Ulf Warschat, head of Body Electronics at Audi. “By standardizing a Digital Key solution that complies with our security standards we lay the building blocks for innovative services on a broad basis.”

BMW: “BMW sees high value in a standardized digital key ecosystem driven by the CCC,” said Alexander Maier, BMW AG. ”Leveraging all benefits of Release 2.0 will enable a scalable solution, interoperable with all smart devices and vehicles delivering a superior user experience to our customers.”

Gemalto: “For more than 2 years Gemalto is strongly supporting the CCC work to standardize the Digital Key,” said Christine Caviglioli – Senior Vice President – Automotive & Mobility Services at Gemalto. “We are convinced the standardization of digital car keys will foster the digitalization of mobility services like car sharing, car rental and fleet management. Gemalto is actively engaged to support vehicle OEMs in rolling out these series for their customers.”

GlobalPlatform: “GlobalPlatform is pleased to have a close collaborative relationship with the Car Connectivity Consortium and welcome the release of this specification which forms the basis of a digital key ecosystem that covers all cars and devices,” said Kevin Gillick, GlobalPlatform Executive Director. “It will deliver a first step towards a fully interoperable digital car key solution using a GlobalPlatform secure component to protect the digital car key.”

NFC Forum: “The CCC’s standards-based Digital Key Specification demonstrates how NFC technology’s widespread availability, convenience, and ease of use enable a breakthrough solution,” said Paula Hunter, Executive Director of the NFC Forum. “We’re pleased that the NFC Forum’s specifications provide a foundation for the CCC specification and its ability to deliver a wealth of smart mobility opportunities.”

NXP: “Smart devices are helping to facilitate new mobility. The CCC brings leading smart device and vehicle OEMs together, to elevate secure vehicle access to the next level,” said Rainer Lutz, Director Digital Key & NFC at NXP Semiconductors. “I am excited that proven NFC technology, in combination with secure elements, are the building blocks to achieve that vision.”

Volkswagen: “VW has supported and contributed to Digital Key Standardization activity of CCC from the first day. We’re excited to see the fast specification development and now the release of Version 1. We’re proud to provide the innovative Digital Key Service for our customers to use our cars soon. VW is looking forward to cooperate with other CCC members to continue on development and standardization of Version 2 to even reach more markets and customers.”

About the Car Connectivity Consortium
The CCC is dedicated to cross-industry collaboration in developing global standards and solutions for smartphone and in-vehicle connectivity. The organization’s 70 plus members represent more than 70 percent of the world’s auto market, more than 60 percent of the global smartphone market and a who’s who of aftermarket consumer electronics vendors. Besides MirrorLink®, the CCC portfolio of technologies includes Digital Key and Car Data. For further information about CCC projects and to get involved, please visit