A Road of Opportunity: Shaping the Future of Automotive Access Control

By 2030, McKinsey & Company has predicted that 1 in 10 new cars will be shared vehicles. This number is predicted to increase to 1 in 3 by 2050; a prediction that’s marked by the projected impact and disruption the ride-sharing or Mobility as a Service (MaaS) industry will have on transportation. With a staggering number of vehicles being idle 95% of the time, MaaS can make going from “point A” to “point B” more efficient, economical, and potentially lucrative for car owners and ride-share services. The benefits of MaaS, however, go beyond the parked cars in our driveways. It’s not just privately owned vehicles that sit idly by, but also a large percentage of commercial vehicles.

With mobility as a service becoming such an attractive venture for companies, they will need to find a secure and convenient means of managing their vehicles and access to these resources.

Building a Future on Convenience

Our future cars need a more connected and efficient key to manage MaaS operations. Bob Straka of Machine Design suggests providing an electronic access solution (EAS) that “can elevate the intelligent access to and control of off-[and on]-highway equipment.” Today, most sharing of vehicles requires a physical hand-off of keys. Ride-sharing and commercial fleets call for a technologically advanced key; one that doesn’t require a person to have a physical key or have to be physically present in the event of a vehicle hand-off. Mobile access control can make this process as well as many others significantly easier and more intuitive.

The Human Factor

With mobile access control, companies will find solutions to many of their common problems. For instance, let’s think about the human factor — the people driving these vehicles. What if a CDL driver is sick and still has the keys to an eighteen-wheeler on them? And what if a person using a shared vehicle or rental car manages to lose their key to the vehicle? In most cases getting a replacement can take days and could cost the individual (in most rental car situations) hundreds of dollars. Digital keys can solve this problem by giving companies the ability to manage, send, and revoke access to car keys from any remote location. It also offers other supplementary benefits, such as data insights, which can be captured in real-time and can give companies a smarter solution to monitor and secure access to their vehicles.

For instance, with mobile access control, companies can integrate digital key technology into their fleet management applications through APIs and SDKs. This would enable (hypothetically) a fleet manager to simply open their app, check on the fleet’s fuel economy and required maintenance while also ascertaining who has accessed a vehicle and when. They can also control who has access to which vehicle; something that can prove to be conducive to managing commercial vehicles, which oftentimes have specified licenses and certifications a driver must hold in order to operate it. The same goes for ride-sharing, in which (another hypothetical situation) a person can open an app, choose a car they would like to use, pay for the trip’s fare, and obtain a mobile credential for the vehicle shortly thereafter.

In a future where efficiency and simplicity will reign, the mobile key — the convenient credential that consumers will habitually have on them — is the natural solution to granting access to MaaS services.

The Future is Functionality

We’re still a decade or two (plus or minus) away from fully autonomous vehicles, but until then and after, mobile credentials can be used to maintain car and driver security, while adding an extra layer of convenience and functionality. In my last post, I wrote that creating a world where access works for you, instead of you working to access, is the future. I still stand by this statement and strongly believe that this concept of technology working for us will be something that drives positive change and intuitive consumers experiences throughout the MaaS industry. With this, the future of transport is not only one that will be full of opportunity but practicality; beginning and ending at the door.