Key to car sharing OTA keys?

otakeysContinental and the Belgian automotive service group D’leteren have formed a joint venture to develop and implement various car-sharing services called OTA keys.

The virtual car keys use wireless smartphones for company fleets, car sharing and car rentals.

OTA keys create virtual smartphone keys that connect to the vehicle through NFC and Bluetooth low energy.

The driver can use the OTA keys app to book a car. The OTA keys system sends an encrypted forgery-proof data record to the cell phone. The virtual key with authorization is saved on the smartphone’s SIM card.

Using the NFC or Bluetooth the cell phone transmits the data (authentication, vehicle and diagnostic data, and user profile) to the reader in the car.

The reader can be integrated into the vehicle doors. Another receiver inside the car verifies the virtual key in the smartphone before the engine is started, and the vehicle is ready to go.

Continental has already deployed the virtual key in several vehicle prototypes. A pilot project was completed in Toulouse and a car-sharing fleet in Monaco is now the first to use the system developed by OTA keys.

OTA keys provides the infrastructure for automakers including the app and ability to program for fleets, car-sharing and car rental reservations. The app can direct the app user to the car.  It’s full solution including mobile apps (Android, iPhone, BlackBerry) user website, fleet manager website and API/SDK.

Most current car-sharing fleets us vehicle-based systems. OTA keys uses smartphones with NFC or Bluetooth, reducing the cost. The system is secure and encrypted like mobile payment systems.

OTA keys system can be expanded in the future to save personal vehicle settings on the virtual car key such as favorite radio stations, seat settings or climate controls.