updated 09:25 am EST, Wed February 2, 2011
BWM to bring out car keys with NFC technology
German luxury carmaker BMW is planning on bringing out a car key with a built-in Near Field Communications (NFC) wireless link. This technology, which is used in cellphones for payment, will not only allow BMW drivers to pay at checkouts, but also eventually view car status such as how much fuel is left and even make remote purchases using the car's next-generation ConnectedDrive telecom/entertainment system, as BMW explained in a video (below). Incorporating this technology into a car key makes sense, BMW believed, because it's something a person always has on them.
The technology could also be used to book hotel rooms and bypass the check-in process.
Whether BMW goes ahead and mass produces the keys depends on the growth of the necessary infrastructure around the world that includes payment and ticket terminals. NFC has an effective wireless range of about 4 inches and so needs to be in virtually direct contact with a receiver on the other end. [via BMWBlog]