Your smartphone is also your car key

The hype train carrying the Lincoln Aviator is real, folks. The luxury automaker’s first plug-in hybrid SUV has officially reached its destination at the New York Auto Show, and as expected, it’s packing a serious amount of technology we normally don’t see on any of Ford’s other brands. Off the bat, we found out that the Aviator will carry technological bells-and-whistles like pedestrian detection, automatic emergency braking, and Ford’s new driver-assist system. But the feature that really has us intrigued is the automaker’s “Phone as Key” technology.

Who Needs a Car Key? Not Lincoln Aviator Owners Thanks to "Phone as Key" Exterior
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If you’re one of those people who think that key fobs are already outdated, then Lincoln’s “Phone as Key” technology may be your salvation

If you’re one of those people who think that key fobs are already outdated, then Lincoln’s “Phone as Key” technology may be your salvation. The technology is at it’s described. Prospective owners of the Lincoln Aviator — if it does end up in production — will only need a smartphone and the “Lincoln Way” app to get the technology up-and-running.

Once the hardware and software needs have been addressed, owners can use the app to lock and unlock the luxury SUV, open its trunk, and most importantly, start the Aviator and drive away with it. In times where a car owner can’t be bothered to drive the car himself, he can send temporary codes to others, who are then required to input them into the app to receive the same menu of functions. That said, the codes are “temporary,” which means that they will eventually time out as another code is generated by the app.

Who Needs a Car Key? Not Lincoln Aviator Owners Thanks to "Phone as Key" Exterior
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Using smartphone apps to perform car functions isn’t entirely a new thing in the auto industry

Using smartphone apps to perform car functions isn’t entirely a new thing in the auto industry. We’ve seen a lot of companies roll out concepts and production vehicles with similar applications. Volvo, for example, has the On Call app that lets Volvo owners maintain contact with their cars through a number of functions that are available in the app. Mercedes also has “Mercedes Me.” Ford has its long-standing “SYNC 3.” A lot of these brands have the same kind of technology that Lincoln is offering with its new smartphone app.

The only difference is the Lincoln Way app points to a future where smartphones start playing bigger roles in the automotive ownership experience. It’s not surprising that Lincoln is taking this route. The automaker is in the middle of completely reinventing its image to cater to a new generation of luxury car buyers. Better keep up with the times, or risk the times leaving you behind.

What’s unclear at this point is whether the automaker has plans to adopt the technology on the production version of the Aviator. We’ll likely learn more about all of the Aviator’s tricks in New York, but from where it’s standing now with this early look at the Aviator, Lincoln’s on its way to potentially stealing the show.

References

Who Needs a Car Key? Not Lincoln Aviator Owners Thanks to "Phone as Key" Exterior
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Read our full speculative review on the 2020 Lincoln Aviator.

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Read more Lincoln news.

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Read more New York Auto Show news.

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