Rise of the Passenger: Why Self-driving Cars Will Need the Most Secure and Scalable Access Control Platform

From Audi to Toyota, this year at CES, many exciting developments in the autonomous car industry were showcased. We saw tech giants such as, Nvidia, working with car manufacturers like Audi and Volvo to produce fleets of self-driving vehicles. Along with them, the ever-so-innovative Toyota presented a car with a built-in AI called Yui, in hopes of shaking up car and user interactions. The excitement and anticipation in CES showgoers was palpable as each and every showcase brought promises of advanced car technology. But perhaps the most buzzworthy presentation of them all was BMW’s concept car, BMW i, which appeared to mimic the setting of a cozy family room. Furnished with a coffee table, books, and a 3D interactive screen made for watching movies and an assortment of other activities, the future of BMW’s i line-up shows commitment to changing the image of transportation entirely. BMW’s Klaus Fröhlich, excitedly explained to CES guests how their autonomous cars are designed to be “a space that inspires communication and interaction” between passengers; becoming an extension of life at home. With all of these advancements, a luxurious and stress-free mode of transportation is within reach.

Parallel to the autonomous car, both tech and car manufacturers are working together to bring about the next big thing in transportation: ride-sharing. For the first time in automotive history, car makers and ride-sharing services will be unified to deliver the ultimate passenger experience. Just picture it, a road occupied by on-demand, self-driving vehicles full of passengers typing up last-minute emails on their way to work or playing a quick round of Mario Kart while their car safely drives them to their destination. With all that has been said and done, we can safely say that the future of autonomous transportation is bright. However, it will have some bumpy roads to endure as driverless cars will require massive iteration cycles to ensure a superior user experience. Furthermore, car manufacturers will have a lot of tough decisions to make as far as technology and design go. Among one of the most important pieces of technology manufacturers will have to take into consideration is the type of access control software they will want to fuse into their hardware. In this ever-evolving world of technology, self-driving cars will call for an access control platform that is both scalable and secure in order to deliver a luxurious voyage for autonomous car owners and ride-sharers alike.

Software Becomes the New Cruise Control

With the introduction of ride-sharing to the autonomous market, the necessity for smart access control is high. As leaders in the access control industry, UniKey is well versed in the art of creating software that is fortified and malleable, which is exactly what these two ton chariots will need in order to keep up with consumer expectations. Both autonomous car owners and ride-sharing passengers will want a convenient and stress-free experience, and that all begins with the right platform. Through the utilization of our software’s CORE platform and its patented Inside/Outside technology, car doors will be capable of authenticating and confirming that the user who enters the driverless vehicle is in fact the intended passenger. This also solves the pain point of autonomous ride-sharing services having to worry about the possibility of picking up the wrong customer, and can even protect against any unwanted users attempting to catch a free ride.

Moreover, autonomous vehicles and ride-services can benefit from our platform’s scalable digital keys. UniKey’s CORE platform provides car manufacturers and ride sharing companies (i.e. BMW & UBER) the ability to easily integrate these proven and secure digital keys into any app via an API and SDK. Once integrated, these “eKeys” will give car owners and ride-sharing passengers the ability to use their smartphone as a car key. Additionally, our software gives car owners and services the ability to send these eKeys from their smartphone to anyone from any remote location; making vehicle outsourcing possible. UniKey’s technology also enables BLE passive entry through our proprietary Touch-to-Open™ solution. Vehicle owners and designated passengers can effortlessly leave their smartphone in their purse or pocket and simply grab the handle to unlock car doors, powered by UniKey™.

Safe Travels

Yet, our platform’s scalability and functionality doesn’t end with our well known eKeys. It’ll also offer manufacturers more control over the updates on their vehicles’ software. A recent article published by TI, explained that “autonomous vehicle control systems will have to be scalable to accommodate a multi-year evolution as car models change and data loads increase with additional features and improved sensors.” Through the utilization of CORE, car makers will no longer need to worry about the continuous technological updates their software will require, as our platform possesses the ability to provide over the air or “OTA” updates to the access control system of any UniKey powered connected car.

There’s no doubting that the time ahead promises to be nothing short of incredible for passengers. Autonomous car technology will bring about new transportation options as well as engaging and interactive road trips. Who doesn’t love the idea of reading or playing video games while AI driven vehicles transit us across the country? It’s a fact that car makers are looking to make a driverless car experience fun and leisurely for all, but it’s important to recognize that part of creating this environment for AV patrons is making the journey both smart and secure. With each and every software update that rolls out, there’s a potential hacker looking to find a way to breach the vehicle’s security and ruin everyone’s experience. This is especially why car makers need to pick only the best access control platform the industry can offer. Similarly, when we at UniKey created the first residential smart lock, the Kwikset Kevo, we not only made the very first lock to trade in a physical key for a smartphone, but also a piece of technology designed to keep our users and their stored data safe. Our platform utilizes an PKI architecture to encrypt customer credentials into our cloud’s ecosystem and directly at the door. And as we mentioned before, our software harnesses the ability to authenticate and electronically verify the permissions of every user attempting to interact with consumer or ride-sharing vehicles; ensuring that passenger safety will never be compromised.

Rise of the Passenger

Overall, security and scalability are our top priorities at UniKey, but we also aim to create a user experience unlike any other. Today, people are on-the-go more than ever; moving from home to transportation to work to home again, day in and day out. With our platform we can offer passengers the perfect key that will not only keep up with them, but also make their lives easier. Just imagine, a house key that can instantaneously transform into a car key the second you lock your front door, and then your work key the moment you reach your office building. A universal key taking users from their home to wherever the day takes them, all while keeping them safe and effortlessly connected. In a world driven by UniKey’s technology, the future of autonomous vehicles and ride-sharing services now gives control to once a backseat user. Get ready, it’s time for the rise of the passenger. To learn more about our technology and benefits, please visit www.unikey.com.