Blog for Smart Access Control

Blog for Smart Access Control
Orange hair Lego toy looking at a blue beetle car.

Unlocking Cars via Smartwatch? Sure.

The new year starts with a fulminant event in Las Vegas for Tapkey: the Consumer Electronics Show 2019. The city of gambling is opening its gates for innovators from around the world from 8th till 11th January 2019 to announce the latest and greatest smartphones, wearables, TV and audio technologies. Tapkey has teamed up with legendary mobile device-maker Garmin to showcase a new application of technology: The ability to unlock a car via smartwatch. 

Smartwatch—The Car Key of the Future?

The automotive industry is paying attention. Garmin and Tapkey are presenting this new Bluetooth-based digital key solution for vehicles. It allows you to open and close car doors with Garmins wearables. Very simple and straightforward. The digital access solution from Tapkey has been integrated into Garmin’s smartwatch and the reference hardware in the car, the Volvo XC90 for this flagship project.

Graphic of the technical process of unlocking a Volvo XC90 with a Garmin smartwatch

Communication via Bluetooth Low Energy works completely offline (without internet connection) and in accordance with the high security requirements of the automotive industry. This is how the technical process of unlocking a Volvo XC90 with a Garmin smartwatch works:

  1. The Garmin smartwatch uses Tapkey software to send an unlocking signal to the car.
  2. Inside the car, the verified signal is sent to the door-control hardware.
  3. The door is unlocked.


    Our showcase can go far beyond mere car usage and even mobility concepts, considering networked sharing and delivery services that also require digitised access solutions. After all, access to the car and infrastructure for mobility such as parking, public transport and smart city will be digital in urban areas.

    Access Management to Vehicles Is Gaining in Importance

    Since touch-free key systems are used—why not go one step further? For Jochen Schurich, Senior Business Developer and co-founder of Tapkey, it is obvious: The smart watch is an ideal device for unlocking your car, simply because you wear it all the timeIt’s easy, practical, and safe.” What also distinguishes Garmins smartwatch from other smartwatches is the long battery life of about two weeks.

    The use of vehicles is growing more and more into comprehensive mobility concepts. Private and public transport will merge in the long run. From this perspective it is understandable that managing access to vehicles is becoming increasingly important.