BMW has announced plans to update its Apple CarKey-compatible Digital Key protocol with a more secure version based on Ultra Wideband wireless technology that allows users to replace physical key fobs with a compatible iPhone.

The new technology called Digital Key Plus enables users to unlock and start their car without taking their iPhone out of their pockets. This is an improvement over the existing BMW Digital Key, in which users have to hold the iPhone to a door handle to gain access and then place the device in an included Qi-enabled smartphone holder to start the vehicle.

BMW Digital Key Plus was developed in collaboration with Apple and is integrated into Apple’s CarKey API. It relies on the security backbone and high precision of UWB to prevent security breaches such as relay attacks attempting to disrupt or intercept digital key signals.

BMW expects to introduce the new technology with the iX, a fully electric “Sports Activity Vehicle” that will be available in European dealers at the end of 2021.

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