As Toyota looks to the future of mobility and car sharing, the automaker has developed a special Smart Key Box (SKB) which will make lending a car much easier and safer.
The SKB can be installed into a vehicle without modification and allows the car to be locked and unlocked and its engine started through a dedicated smartphone application.
This app will rely on codes specified by the vehicle owner to interact with the SKB device so as soon as someone borrowing the vehicle receives the codes and approaches the vehicle, the application will recognise the SKB via Bluetooth, allowing the vehicle to be used.
Toyota says the SKB will help to avoid problems of typical car sharing networks where physical keys are often shared among users.
To introduce the SKB to the market,Toyota will launch a pilot program in the United States with local car sharing company Getaround, starting in January 2017 in San Francisco.
According to Getaround founder and chief executive Sam Zaid, “Our goal at Getaround has always been to empower people to car-share everywhere. Integrating our experience and purpose-built car-sharing technology with Toyota’s activities across mobility services opens up new opportunities to Toyota customers and the rapidly growing car-sharing market.”