Google formed the Android SE Alliance to increase the popularity and adoption of digital car keys and driver’s licenses to be stored on-device in March 2021.
Later in May, Google officially announced that it was finally joining Apple and it would start adding Digital Car Key support in Android 12 to help unlock a supported car with your phone.
XDA Developers report that there are several new references related to the Digital Car Key functionality in the latest Google Play Services update (v21.39.15).
There is no official announcement about this new update’s rollout but it can be assumed that it will be introduced when Android 12 stable becomes available on Pixel devices.
Once it rolls out on compatible devices with a future Google Play Services update, users will see an update notification to help them set up the feature. Tapping on the notification will bring up a pop-up saying: “This will install the digital car key service on your phone. You’ll get a notification in a few minutes to continue setting up your key.”
XDA-Developers highlighted that the Digital Car Keys feature will use NFC to help unlock a vehicle.
The feature may only support selected mobile devices and in specific regions at launch. Although, this may soon roll out to other regions in the coming months as it expands.
All digital car keys might be securely stored in Google Pay. The feature will use both NFC and UWB to unlock a car securely.
The upcoming feature is expected to be available for both Pixel devices and select Samsung Galaxy devices.