Private car sharing and Digital Vehicle Key: The new A-Class: sharing with friends, contactless opening

Feb 28, 2018

The new A-Class is already set up for private car sharing: Mercedes me allows the new compact car to be shared with friends and family members. Operation is simple and secure using the Mercedes me app Car Sharing.

Sharing a car instead of owning one: car sharing is in. According to the German Car Sharing Association, over 1.7 million people in Germany are registered with providers such as market leader car2go. Mercedes me is now extending its services to include private car sharing: the Mercedes me app Car Sharing allows A‑Class drivers to share their vehicle with a specified group of users. Friends, family members or colleagues can then easily book the A‑Class for a fixed period of time.

The authorised user opens the vehicle using the app and by means of the Mercedes me communication module installed in the vehicle. The A‑Class is started with the vehicle key, which is left in the car and temporary use of which is likewise enabled over the air by Mercedes me. When returning the vehicle, the driver puts the key back in the car and closes the car with the app, thereby bringing the sharing period to an end. The vehicle key in the car can be used only during the sharing period.

Digital Vehicle Key as sticker

The car can also be contactlessly opened, closed and started by means of Near Field Communication (NFC). This technology is used by the Digital Vehicle Key. The new A‑Class is now also available in Germany with a Digital Vehicle Key Sticker with a built-in NFC controller. This means that the use of the Digital Vehicle Key no longer requires an NFC-capable smartphone.

First launched in the E‑Class, the Digital Vehicle Key is now available as an optional extra ex-works for a number of model series. However, not every smartphone has an NFC interface that complies with Mercedes-Benz's security standards. For the new A-Class, therefore, there is now a Digital Vehicle Key Sticker with a built-in microcontroller. Customers can order this sticker from the Mercedes me portal. Delivery is through a Mercedes-Benz sales partner.

Once stuck on the smartphone, the Digital Vehicle Key Sticker allows contactless opening, closing and starting of the vehicle. To start the engine, the driver simply needs to place their smartphone with the NFC sticker in the centre console stowage tray. Qi-compatible smartphones, i.e. those with a corresponding receiver coil for wireless charging, are also inductively charged while in the tray.

NFC is an international communications standard for short-range wireless data exchange. Data transfer begins automatically when an NFC-capable device is held close to another device. The Digital Vehicle Key from Mercedes-Benz transfers the authorisation to drive the vehicle to a secured and encrypted chip in the phone or sticker. This can then be used as a car key. The Digital Vehicle Key Sticker is also available for a number of car lines in conjunction with digital vehicle key for smartphone.

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