Volvo is proud to announce it will be the first car manufacturer in the industry to offer keyless cars starting next year.

The current trend in the car industry is to replace conventional key fobs with smart keys, but at the end of the day, that’s still technically a key. However, Volvo is planning to eliminate the necessity of a physical key altogether by offering a smartphone app which will allow the owner to operate the vehicle.

Labeled as a “digital key”, this is basically a smartphone app that communicates with the car via a Bluetooth connection. It will have virtually the same functionality as a regular or smart physical key, so you’ll be able to lock and unlock the cars, open the trunk, and start the engine.

Interestingly, the app will also have support for multiple keys which means that from a single smartphone you’ll be able to open different cars located in different places. Volvo believes this feature has great potential as it will allow the client of a rental car company to use the vehicle without actually having to grab the keys from the company. The rental firm will just have to send the necessary access data to the client’s smartphone. It’s as simple as that.

Volvo says it will launch a pilot program this spring via its car-sharing company Sunfleet located at the Gothenburg airport in Sweden. Starting 2017, the digital key will effectively be launched, but Volvo says only a limited number of models will get the tech.

Source: Volvo

Gallery: Volvo to sell literally keyless cars starting 2017 [video]

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