BMW is the latest carmaker to reveal imminent plans of ditching the conventional car key altogether, according to a report by Reuters. It’s a matter of convenience, apparently, which is interesting coming from BMW, considering its recent upsizing exploits with the BMW Display Key. The fancy key, with its interactive screen, is significantly larger than most car keys.

“Honestly, how many people really need it? They never take it out of their pocket, so why the need to carry it around?” asked Ian Robertson, a board member of the BMW Group. The fact that its customers all carry a smartphone, together with the availability of the BMW App (downloadable on both iOS and Android platforms) make physical key fobs old fashioned and less relevant than ever before, he added.

BMW is currently conducting feasibility studies of such tech, but no introduction date has been put forth as yet. The Bavarian company isn’t the first to come up with this, though.

Early last year, Volvo announced the exact same thing and detailed some of its benefits, including “sharing” the digital key with family members and friends via smartphones. On the commercial side of things, car rental companies can even use this feature for its customers (tourists, expats etc), removing the need for miserably long queues. Volvo, however, promises to continue providing customers with the physical key fob, just in case your phone goes bust.

Other variations of such tech are Jaguar’s Activity Key (works via an RFID chip, but this is only to lock/unlock the vehicle, not to start it), Mercedes-Benz’s Digital Car Key (uses NFC on your smartphone) and the Tesla Model 3‘s smartphone app and NFC keycard. Lexus, meanwhile, offers a traditional car key in the form of a card that can be slotted in your wallet/purse.

But just how safe is this digital car key tech, when just last year, millions of cars from the Volkswagen Group with keyless entry were found to be at risk of being hacked? If unscrupulous hackers can do it remotely for under RM100 through a pair of wireless radio transmitters, what big a risk will car owners be faced with when car keys become fully digitised as an app?

Do you think BMW is on the right track here, and which brand’s solution is your favourite so far? Share with us your thoughts in the comments section below.