Bosch introduces virtual car key for trucks
The digital key cannot get lost and cannot be stolen, the automotive supplier advertises. Digital key management already makes things easier for private vehicles, but the advantages of such a system only really come into play for fleet vehicles with many drivers, explains Harald Kröger, chairman of the Bosch Automotive Electronics division. There is no need to transfer a physical key; instead, fleet operators simply activate access to the truck with the app called “Perfectly Keyless”.
Bosch sees a huge market for its solution, which will be officially presented at the IAA for commercial vehicles in Hanover in September – in Germany alone there are 15,000 transport companies, most of which manage more than a dozen vehicles and drivers.
The heart of the new system is an app that both dispatchers and truck drivers have on their smartphones. There, access authorizations for vehicles can be assigned with just a few clicks. With the new solution, digital key management can in future also be fully integrated into the planning and scheduling system of freight forwarders. As soon as drivers and trucks are assigned to a tour in scheduling, the digital keys for the trucks are automatically generated and sent to the drivers’ smartphones. If the route planning changes, the software also adjusts the keys. “Digital key management gives freight forwarders planning security and flexibility at the same time. Only in this way will the logistics of the future function efficiently,” says Kröger.
The digital key management connects smartphone app and truck via the cloud. Using the app, a dispatcher or fleet manager assigns a truck to a driver for his tour. Perfectly keyless then creates a personalized and protected digital key and sends it via the cloud to the driver’s truck and smartphone. When the driver comes to his truck with his smartphone, sensors permanently installed in the truck detect the presence via a local radio link. The vehicle doors can only be opened if the key in the mobile phone fits into the digital lock in the truck. The sensors also detect when the driver is inside the vehicle. Then the engine starts when it presses the start-stop button. Once the journey is over and the driver gets out, the sensors detect this and automatically lock the doors.
In the future, the system will also work with an empty cell phone battery. Then the telephone and truck communicate via Near Field Communication (NFC). NFC is a radio standard for the exchange of data over short distances. It is to become the “double bottom” of the Bosch solution. If the smartphone and app are lost or stolen, the digital key can simply be deactivated online. Then access to the car is blocked. Only when the fleet manager activates another driver or a new mobile phone for the truck via app, it can be opened and started again.