Apple Will Let You Share an Apple Car With Others Without Handing Over the Keys

Patent describing the secure way to share a token 6 photos
Photo: USPTO
Patent describing the secure way to share a tokenPatent describing the secure way to share a tokenPatent describing the secure way to share a tokenPatent describing the secure way to share a tokenPatent describing the secure way to share a token
Everybody knows Apple is currently working on a car, and while the Cupertino-based tech giant doesn’t say a single thing about it, the myriad of patents the company files in the automotive sector are certainly the living proof something big on this front is on its way.
The most recent idea patented by Apple is called “Friend key sharing,” and it basically describes a way to share your Apple Car with someone else.

As you could easily guess, the whole thing doesn’t involve a typical car key because in the Apple world, car keys are already yesterday. An iPhone is all you need, and the Apple Car is very likely to go all-in on digital car keys, a concept that the Cupertino-based tech giant is already insisting on with partners like BMW.

The digital key concept would allow Apple to offer this “Friend key sharing” system, which, as the company describes in the patent, is supposed to allow someone else to drive your car without disclosing any confidential information and exposing critical data.

If access is controlled by a physical key or fob, the owner must physically deliver the key/fob to the individual and then must physically retrieve the key/fob after the individual is finished with access,” Apple explains.

And of course, given the company wants full convenience for its customers, this wouldn’t be the case for the reasons we already discussed earlier.

If access is controlled by secret data, the owner must communicate the secret data to the individual. If the communication is insecure, a third party can observe the secret data. Additionally, the secret data must be changed after the individual is finished with access,” the iPhone maker further adds.

So no, using a passcode and sharing it with others isn’t an option either, Apple says.

Instead, the company has invented a token-based system that would be powered by another device (you’ve guessed it right, an iPhone) and then shared with another individual using a secure method (again, you’ve guessed it right, an app on an iPhone). This token would be something similar to a one-time access code, so after they use the car, it automatically expires and access to the vehicle is no longer offered.

Of course, it’s important to keep in mind the whole thing is still a patent for now, but don’t be too surprised if such capabilities end up going live on the Apple Car when the vehicle is ready in 2025.
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About the author: Bogdan Popa
Bogdan Popa profile photo

Bogdan keeps an eye on how technology is taking over the car world. His long-term goals are buying an 18-wheeler because he needs more space for his kid’s toys, and convincing Google and Apple that Android Auto and CarPlay deserve at least as much attention as their phones.
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