Video: VW and Audi cars could be hacked remotely via their infotainment system.

A new specification is being developed with the aim of letting car owners unlock and lock their vehicles using a smartphone.

The Car Connectivity Consortium (CCC), which counts Apple and Samsung as members, has published the Digital Key Release 1.0 Specification, offering a first look at a standardized way of using a smartphone to lock and unlock any vehicle, start its engine, and share access to the car.

CCC is looking to use existing technologies such as Bluetooth and NFC as part of the Digital Key standard.

The specification outlines a number of use cases, such as how a smartphone would unlock or lock the vehicle, for example, when it is in close proximity, by placing it near a sensor, or by opening an app.

SEE: Tech and the future of transportation (ZDNet special report) | Download the report as a PDF (TechRepublic)

To use the key, the specification suggests authentication could be required either via passcodes or a phone’s biometric readers.

The specification also discusses key provisioning and revocation, pointing to potential applications for car-sharing businesses and car-rental agencies, which would be able to give customers a Digital Key on their phone that expires after the rental period is completed.

“This mechanism works agnostic of the brand of the car or the smart device, so that the rental agency is the single contact point for the customer,” it notes.

This technology could also come in handy when buying a secondhand…