Case Study

Digital Key

by Chris Casey and Mason Harris
digital key
car share
ride share

Flexible, secure, and hassle-free access to your vehicle from your personal mobile device anywhere and everywhere.

Digital Key technology provides a user the ability to unlock/lock and start/stop their vehicle via a smartphone application. The application receives an encryption key and is then able to authenticate the key by bringing the smart phone within proximity of vehicle. Once inside, the user can Start/Stop the vehicle via the Push Start Button on most Toyota and Lexus Vehicles. This capability is governed by our Connected Mobility Intelligence Platform to tie the instance of the Digital Key to any external reservation system. We call this “Digital-Key-as-a-Service”.

Digital Key is a core enabler in Toyota’s journey to provide Mobility For All. Toyota Connected is working to put this technology into the hands of customers and fleet owners worldwide. We believe that we can do this in a way in which a digital key can be transferred in a secure and reliable way anywhere and everywhere it makes sense.

Use Cases

Flying into your favorite beach getaway, but forgot to rent a car? Wait until you land, open any application powered by Toyota Connected and you can reserve your favorite Toyota or Lexus vehicle instantly. No need to wait in those long lines at the rental counter or fill out a form. Simply reserve the car, walk up to the vehicle and hop in.

Vehicle owners will be able to make their car available when it is not in use. Have a Tundra that a neighbor needs to move some boxes? Share your digital key for 1 hour, 2 hours, a day and charge a fee. Now your car can make you money.

Digital Key will also benefit our dealers and their customers. Soon, customers will be able to go online, book a test drive and keep it for the weekend. Return on Monday and buy the car of your dreams or try out another model.

Need a car while staying at your favorite hotel? Open your hotel application and see what Toyota or Lexus vehicles are available in the hotel garage. Hotels who partner with Toyota Dealers in the future will be able to power their existing applications with our secure Digital Key as a Service API to enable new opportunities for Toyota Dealers to further monetize their existing rental fleet.

Fleet Owners, Rental companies, and entrepreneurs who have the next big mobility idea can leverage our technology to recognize new streams of revenue and opportunities for reducing operating costs. The possibilities are endless with Digital Key.


- Safety & Reliability: Once stored on a compatible device, access to the vehicle is ensured for the duration of a digital key. There is no need for a constant connection-a stored digital key is safe to use in or out of cell service areas, and with or without an active cloud connection.

- Compatibility: Digital key utilizes BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) technology, which is nearly ubiquitous and available on every major consumer smartphone and across a range of IoT devices.

- Practicality: Digital key is easy to integrate into any iOS or Android application via an ecosystem of well-supported APIs and SDKs that focus on streamlining the end user experience.Integration into any new or existing product is seamless.

- Flexibility: Digital keys can be scoped to support only a subset of vehicle access features - such as locking and unlocking doors or trunks - making them safe to distribute for a variety of use cases.

- Security: Once bound to a user’s smartphone or other compatible device, a digital key cannot be reused or tampered with. Vehicle-side firmware ensures that keys are strongly tied to an identifiable device and may not be stolen or intercepted.

We will be rolling out this new exciting technology wide to our dealers and partners in the coming months. Catch a glimpse of our technology live in Hawaii, through the HUI application.

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We build technology that empowers people to move, and makes their lives easier and safer at Toyota Connected.