Will the Apple Car be a ride-sharing service?
Apple is developing a service that strikes to the heart of the ride-sharing industry as it assembles the components it needs to deliver its own take on autonomous transportation.
CarKeys for the rest of us
Apple’s iOS 13.4 beta includes a new CarKey feature. This uses the built-in NFC support inside iPhones to open and close compatible car doors, replacing physical keys.
That’s a fairly straightforward implementation and should be of great value to iPhone owners who mislay their ‘real’ keys, most of which are now based on NFC.
What makes it more interesting is how Apple sees those keys, because the company intends making it possible for people to share these keys with others, using iMessage.
You’ll be able to lock, unlock and start your car using your iPhone or Apple Watch, and if you want to loan the car or otherwise give access to it, you’ll be able to send them a key in an iMessage. Access is authenticated biometrically via Face or Touch ID.
When you do, it will be possible to assign both permanent and temporary keys. You might give a permanent key to your husband or a time-limited key to someone you rent your vehicle to using a service like Getaround or Turo.
All about the next wave of transportation
That’s the point of this system, of course.
Not only does it enable drivers to join the peer-to-peer car sharing revolution, it also enables private car rental firms, facilitates easier fleet vehicle management, and will likely become part of the ride-sharing ecosystem.
Given Apple’s deep research into semi-autonomous vehicles, its billion dollar investment in ride sharing firm, Didi Chuxing, and the pressing need for manufacturers of all stripes to adopt environmentally friendly business practises in reaction to climate change, the notions of ride sharing and of peer-to-peer vehicle rentals will likely become growing forces in the future of road transportation.
Apple’s CarKey feature shows the company is already thinking about where to place itself and its solutions within that future. I imagine we’ll also see this supported by scooter, vehicle and car rental services fairly soon.
More importantly, however, it’s the kind of feature Apple may need if it chooses to bring its in development Apple Car to the mass market in the form or a ride-sharing/peer-to-peer rental services model. A model which seems more likely as the future of road transportation itself seems up for discussion in the new climate reality.