Back in August, we reported that BMW developed a multiuse/multifunctional key that will change the way we interact and use our car’s key. Beside its normal use, the super-duper key could be used for shopping, paying for gas, public transportation, toll roads, etc..Anything or any place that accepts credit cards could take advantage of this new technology.

Of course, there are many risks associated with this type of technology and many pros and cons were outlined in our previous article. One of our readers nailed it and explained to us what kind of issue this multifunctional key might bring:

This is a really bad idea. The implications of RFIDs in consumer items haven’t been properly explored.

– coupled dependencies – are you going to rely on being able to make a purchase with your keys, given the above valet scenario and others? What happens if you lose your keys, how many different functions need to be closed down or tracked to protect you?

– security issues – RFIDs can be easily read and duplicated/spoofed given the right equipment. Many POS purchases require no other authentication than a swipe.

– consumer ignorance – banks, retailers and POS suppliers haven’t educated the public on RFID risks and benefits.

– privacy issues – the ability to read all unique identifiers on a person at once — and without their knowledge — completely undermines the privacy of ordinary activities

This really is a big deal. The only real exploration by companies on this subject is the benefits —– to them.

With this being said, BMW has issued a new press release along with some photos.


Press Release

BMW Group Research and Technology has developed a prototype for a multifunctional car key which enables cashless payment and personalised vehicle access. “As part of our research project we first integrated a security chip into the key casing, which communicates across short distances by radio with a card reader,” says Hans-Jörg Vögel, project manager at BMW Group Forschung und Technik. In future the key could also be used for other transport systems. Indeed, electronic tickets for bus, train and air travel could all be stored on the chip. The credit card function in the security chip allows electronic payments to be carried out quickly, securely and conveniently from the prototype key.

Adding a personalised credit card function to the car key opens the door to a wealth of other mobility scenarios. For example, the holder of the key can enjoy secure in-car access to personal data since the key gives the driver authorised online access to his personalised ConnectedDrive services inside a BMW – not only when he’s travelling in his own car, but also from a BMW hire car, for example. Here, the driver identifies himself using his personal key and the car adopts his individual settings. Access to personal data such as address books, favourite radio stations and personal subscriptions to services and content providers is activated through the multifunctional key.

Because the driver can be identified with total certainty, the key can now – for the first time – be linked to the car owner rather than any particular car. This also makes hiring cars and car sharing, for instance, even easier.

“With the concept of integrating a cashless payment function into a car key, we are working on ways of linking up vehicle technology and lifestyle,” says Prof. Raymond Freymann, Director of BMW Group Research and Technology.

[Source: Worldcarfans ]