Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you

BMW set to roll app remote engine start to select cars

Imagine starting your car via an app on that phone of yours instead of needing keys. It’s coming to future phones, but BMW models might get it first.

One of the things smartphones tend to address is that of convenience. The idea of convergence helps make features on a smartphone more convenient overall, and mean you can replace your pocket calendar with a phone, a regular camera with the one inside your mobile, and even change how you pay, reaching for the phone instead of your wallet’s set of cards.

Convergence means the individual things we used to carry around can become the same one, and the phone has made an impact here in a big way. Hands up who carries an iPod these days when your phone can do the job of media player for you.

One thing has yet to be replaced by the phone, though it’s beginning to start to shift: your car keys.

While keyless entry in cars is definitely a thing, and not all cars even require your car to be in the ignition slot (just in the car), your keys have yet to make the jump to your phone, though that could be changing.

Apple signalled that its next iOS would support the feature, with iOS 14 able to turn an iPhone into a key for select cars. There’s not a lot about this right now, but there’s another approach for some car companies, and that’s via an app.

It’s a concept BMW is testing in a sampling of its cars, with Remote Engine Start coming to a handful of new vehicles, including the 3 and 4 series Sedan and Coupe models sold from July this year, the M5 and Z5 Roadster, while X5 and X6 models get it from August, too.

BMW noted that it’s a feature that can be installed in 2019 model cars purchased from last year, activated on select X4, X6, Z4, and 3, 4, 5, 7, and 8 series vehicles.

BMW’s Remote Engine Start can work from a phone and used for up to 15 minutes at a time, but whether it’s legal to use or not may depend on the road rules in your state.

In NSW, for instance, the driver must switch off the engine before leaving the vehicle if you’re over three metres from the vehicle. While that doesn’t necessarily mean using a Remote Engine Start is illegal in NSW, it may mean you’ll want to tread carefully and only use it when you’re entering or leaving your home, especially if your next-door neighbour happens to be an office.

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