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Genesis to add Apple CarKey unlocking and engine start tech: report


The luxury arm of Hyundai is set to follow BMW in allowing an iPhone to be used as a key – with the ability to share access to up to five friends

Luxury carmaker Genesis will reportedly adopt Apple’s CarKey technology in mid-2022, allowing unlocking, locking and vehicle start from an iPhone or Apple Watch.

Bloomberg’s respected Apple source Mark Gurman has backed MacRumors reporting that discovered references to Genesis vehicles in a configuration source-code update for Apple Pay – the near-field communication (NFC) payments tech that CarKey piggybacks.

UPDATE 19 JANUARY 2022: Genesis has confirmed to Chasing Cars that it will add digital key technology for iPhone owners, starting with the GV60 SUV and GV90 sedan.

The Genesis G80 sedan and GV80 large SUV already include NFC-based unlocking features for Android smartphones in overseas markets, branded Digital Key. It is likely that this NFC technology will allow G80 and GV80 models with the feature to add iPhone support via an update, and without new hardware.

Genesis GV80 2021 driving
The Genesis GV80 supports NFC access from Android phones overseas

Support for Apple’s CarKey function would work in fundamentally the same way as the Android-based Digital Key system.

“With Genesis Digital Key, you unlock the car by holding your smartphone against the driver or passenger door handle. Once inside, just place the phone in the wireless charger, push the start button and go,” the brand said in a release announcing the Android function last year.

Apple’s CarKey has three modes that allow different levels of access: boot access only, unlocking and locking of all doors, and a full mode allowing the car to be started and driven.

Users can specify whether their phone should demand biometric permission for each use (Touch ID or Face ID), but CarKey also has a less secure Express setting that unlocks the car without authentication if the device is brought close enough.

BMW Apple CarKey 2022-1
BMW was the launch partner for Apple’s CarKey technology. Photo: Apple

CarKey permissions can be shared with up to five friends or family members via Apple’s iMessage technology. Restricted modes allow the vehicle owner to restrict top speed and volume levels.

Apple announced its CarKey technology at the 2020 Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), with the technology company partnering with BMW as a launch partner.

The technology works in Australia, and is available on BMW’s 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 8 Series passenger cars, plus the X5, X6 and X7 SUVs and the Z4 convertible – as long as the vehicle was built after 1 July 2020.

BMW added digital key support for Android devices in December 2021, while its new iX electric large SUV is fitted with a new ultra wideband version of Apple CarKey, allowing iPhone users to leave their phone in their pocket when unlocking the vehicle.

Chasing Cars has requested a comment from Genesis Australia.