- Lincoln’s new Phone As A Key technology permits owners to lock and unlock, and start and drive the vehicle without a traditional key.
- Compatible with Android devices and iOS versions 9.0 and higher, the system operates with Bluetooth to provide a connection in situations when there is no Wi-Fi or cell network available.
- Phone As A Key is a function of an app called The Lincoln Way.
Smartphones have proven themselves essential to modern life, largely on the backs of groundbreaking and vital apps like “iBeer” and “Places I’ve Pooped.” Now Lincoln is poised to add another vital smartphone usage to the public zeitgeist: Phone As A Key, making its debut on the 2020 Lincoln Aviator.
Operating as a function of its app called The Lincoln Way, Phone As A Key technology promises to eliminate the need to carry a separate car-key fob. (At this point, the old-school stick-‘n’-turn keys are a dying breed.) When properly configured, it allows the owner to lock and unlock, open the liftgate, and, importantly, start and drive the vehicle with just their smartphone.
Compatible with Android devices and iOS versions 9.0 and higher, the system operates with Bluetooth technology to provide a connection in situations when there is no Wi-Fi or cell network available, such as in underground garages. Eleven antennas help achieve and maintain a solid connection, while the Bluetooth connection covers a circumference of about 130 feet around the vehicle. (The Lincoln Way and Phone As A Key can also operate with limited functionality via Wi-Fi or cell network from further distances to unlock or start the car, Lincoln says.)
Once both user and smartphone are within range, the smartphone can be used to open and close windows and the trunk, hit the panic button, or chirp the alarm. When an owner is within approximately 10 feet of the vehicle, remote keyless entry is active; passive entry is active as the owner nears the vehicle. Basically, it’s just as if you had the key fob in your hand, but you don’t, you have your phone–get it?
But wait, there’s more. Drivers can recall also recall individual preferences, such as seat, side mirror, and steering-column positions, as well as interior comfort and entertainment settings. Should Junior want to take the Aviator for a spin up to the Twisty Creme, there’s no need for Dad to hand over his smartphone, too, as the system can handle up to four digital “keys” in addition to the standard smart key fobs. Keys can be named and driver profiles can be created for each “key.” Removing them is as simple as following a few steps. There’s also temporary valet mode that deactivates when the vehicle’s owner enters the car with their smartphone.
What’s that you say? What if you lose your phone at the beach or it decides to melt down just as you are preparing to leave a dark parking lot at 3 a.m., and you left the traditional key fobs at home? Thankfully, Lincoln foresaw this potential calamity and provided a solution that uses Ford’s decades-old keypad entry system. The user enters a passcode on the door panel, and then enters a different, user-predetermined backup ignition code on the vehicle’s touchscreen, and, voilà, you and your Aviator are in the wind. Should your phone fall into the hands of a nefarious type with hacking skills, an owner can remove all traces of the Phone As A Key install, again using The Lincoln Way app.
The Lincoln Way app also performs the usual tricks including Find Your Car, scheduling pickup and delivery for services, calling roadside assistance, and placing orders with Amazon for in-car delivery.
Details on the new 2020 Lincoln Aviator are still evolving, but the available Phone As A Key app will be an option included in the Convenience package. Lincoln says Phone As A Key will be available and ready for activation in late summer 2019.