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Japanese car maker; Toyota Corp. has developed a Smart Key Box, which lets people use smartphones to access and start up their car. Intended to enable car sharing, the device works with a cloud service where an individual can be given access to a specific car for a set time period.

Toyota says, the Smart Key Box app allow users that have previously signed up for the shared-use car to operate it, providing a more secure way of lending and renting cars.

CNET reports that the Japanese auto-makers will partner with the Getaround car sharing service for a pilot project that will begin in San Francisco in January.

According to Toyota, Smart Key Box can be placed in a vehicle without modification,” enabling engine start and door lock access.

The company adds saying, the platform has individual business functions like vehicle management systems and leasing programmes.

How to use the Smart Key Box

  1. A potential driver arranges a loan of the car with an app on their smartphone, connecting to Toyota’s cloud-based Mobility Services Platform – handling payments, loan scheduling and the amount of time for which the car is available.
  2. When the smartphone is within Bluetooth range of the car, it shares an encrypted unlock code, giving the user access to the car and enabling its push-button ignition.
  3. The unlock code will only be active during the set time for which the car has been engaged, although a user would likely be able to extend the loan time with the app.