BMW sees the future of cars being totally keyless.
According to Reuters, BMW Board member Ian Robertson said regarding traditional car keys:
"Honestly, how many people really need it? They never take it out of their pocket, so why do I need to carry it around?"
About the possibility of totally doing away with keys, Robertson said:
"We are looking at whether it is feasible, and whether we can do it. Whether we do it right now or at some point in the future, remains to be seen."
BMW customers can already unlock their car using the BMW app, and it is a safe bet that most BMW customers have access to smartphones.
So, could a smartphone app replace keys altogether? Sure, the technology exists to make that a reality. But should it?
Sure, many people have access to smartphones, but not all. That may not be a concern to a company like BMW that caters to a demographic that is much more likely to have access but it should be because of one thing: Resale value. Down the line, as depreciation takes its toll, a BMW enters a market where more people might not have access to a smartphone. Sure, that seems like a small number of people, but anything that shrinks the market for your used car hurts its resale value, which is not an insignificant factor.
Plus, even if every single person had access to the technology and it was made perfectly secure. What happens if your phone dies? Typically, modern key fobs may get dead batteries, but there is a long period of warning and the car can usually still be accessed and operated with a dead key. Phones die all the time. And if you can't access or start your car with a dead phone, you can't even charge it to call for help where you are!
There are solutions possible, (like fingerprint or facial recognition) but call us old fashioned because we prefer just having a small chunk of metal that matches our car. It's just easier that way.