Apple’s involvement in the automotive world is about to get serious, as the company has been granted a new patent.

This time, it is for an iPhone-based key for cars. At first, this is not a big deal, because you can several alarm system that locks or unlocks the doors of your vehicle through your iPhone, but Apple’s new patent allows the creation of “temporary keys.”

The term “temporary key” is new to the automotive world, but might become familiar in a few years time, if this technology and its upcoming rivals will become accessible to the public. By future competitors we are talking about an equivalent from Google, Samsung, or another Android-based OEM.

This new patent granted to Apple creates the possibility of letting someone else drive your car. Unlike the traditional method, involving handing your keys or the spare key to a selected individual, the new technology will allow you to create a “temporary key.”

Unlike a standard key fob, the new “temporary key” will only be active for a determined period, and only be accessible to the designated person. The latter means that nobody else besides the selected and trusted friend will be able to drive your car.

As Patently Apple reports, the new submission is quite broad, as it could become an interface for existing cars or a feature of the said Apple Car. Either way, the technology to allow access to cars has been designed, and all that’s left is finding OEMs willing to trust the solution.

Since current multimedia units have proven their flaws, the new units with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are expected to provide an extra level of security, on par with that provided by the consequent handsets. As we always point out when a new patent grant is discovered, patenting this does not mean that the device or service will come to market. So take those “temporary keys” with a grain of salt for now.

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