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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was hoping the digital key would be able to operate through bluetooth or possibly another proximity connection method and not just the Internet to ensure the best possible chance of being able to actually operate your own vehicle in areas with spotty cell service, but it looks like you need clear coverage for both AT&T and whatever cell service you use in order to use your phone as key.

I wonder how many people are going to get locked out of their vehicles because the cell reception is poor at their destination. All these warnings make me think it's not even worth trying out.

Above all else, I love the precaution, "Do not allow your smartphone to be stolen."

4-1. Key information - Owner's Manual Page 163
Digital Key
A smartphone can be used instead of the electronic key of the vehicle by installing the dedicated Digital Key App on a smartphone. Also, Digital Key can be shared with your family or friends using the Digital Key App.
Digital key usage conditions
In order to use the Digital Key, you need to install the SUBARU Solterra Connect Mobile App, Register the Vehicle to the customer’s SUBARU Solterra Connect Mobile App profile, and subscribe to Remote Services, and enroll in Digital Key.
Digital key precautions
A Digital Key can be used when the smartphone and server can communicate. The Digital Key may become unusable if the smartphone is not connected to the Internet. Be sure to carry the electronic key of the vehicle if traveling to a location with unreliable communications.
If the smartphone battery is depleted, the smartphone cannot be used as Digital Key. If the battery level is low, be sure to charge the smartphone prior to going out.
The Digital Key system is related to the Smart key system. If the Smart key system has been deactivated in the vehicle customization setting, the Digital Key will also be disabled.
Depending on the radio wave environment, the Digital Key may not be able to be used.
When transferring vehicle ownership, make sure to delete the Digital Keys.
If the vehicle is not operated for 14 days or more, the Digital Key will not connect automatically. Therefore, it may take some time before the system operates after a door handle is touched.
A part of the services may be stopped for a certain period of time due to server maintenance. However, registered Digital Keys can be used during the maintenance.
A smartphone with the Digital Key App enabled will be able to lock and unlock the doors, start the EV system and perform any other operations as same as the electronic key of the vehicle. Be especially careful not to lose the smartphone or allow it to be stolen. If the smartphone is lost or stolen, contact your SUBARU dealer immediately.
When taking your vehicle to a SUBARU dealer for an inspection or repairs, make sure to bring an electronic key.
 

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I was hoping the digital key would be able to operate through bluetooth or possibly another proximity connection method and not just the Internet to ensure the best possible chance of being able to actually operate your own vehicle in areas with spotty cell service, but it looks like you need clear coverage for both AT&T and whatever cell service you use in order to use your phone as key.

I wonder how many people are going to get locked out of their vehicles because the cell reception is poor at their destination. All these warnings make me think it's not even worth trying out.

Above all else, I love the precaution, "Do not allow your smartphone to be stolen."

4-1. Key information - Owner's Manual Page 163
Digital Key
A smartphone can be used instead of the electronic key of the vehicle by installing the dedicated Digital Key App on a smartphone. Also, Digital Key can be shared with your family or friends using the Digital Key App.
Digital key usage conditions
In order to use the Digital Key, you need to install the SUBARU Solterra Connect Mobile App, Register the Vehicle to the customer’s SUBARU Solterra Connect Mobile App profile, and subscribe to Remote Services, and enroll in Digital Key.
Digital key precautions
A Digital Key can be used when the smartphone and server can communicate. The Digital Key may become unusable if the smartphone is not connected to the Internet. Be sure to carry the electronic key of the vehicle if traveling to a location with unreliable communications.
If the smartphone battery is depleted, the smartphone cannot be used as Digital Key. If the battery level is low, be sure to charge the smartphone prior to going out.
The Digital Key system is related to the Smart key system. If the Smart key system has been deactivated in the vehicle customization setting, the Digital Key will also be disabled.
Depending on the radio wave environment, the Digital Key may not be able to be used.
When transferring vehicle ownership, make sure to delete the Digital Keys.
If the vehicle is not operated for 14 days or more, the Digital Key will not connect automatically. Therefore, it may take some time before the system operates after a door handle is touched.
A part of the services may be stopped for a certain period of time due to server maintenance. However, registered Digital Keys can be used during the maintenance.
A smartphone with the Digital Key App enabled will be able to lock and unlock the doors, start the EV system and perform any other operations as same as the electronic key of the vehicle. Be especially careful not to lose the smartphone or allow it to be stolen. If the smartphone is lost or stolen, contact your SUBARU dealer immediately.
When taking your vehicle to a SUBARU dealer for an inspection or repairs, make sure to bring an electronic key.
The primary issue isn’t lack of communication between phone and car, it’s that the shared-secret approach requires communication between phone and server, and in turn between server and car.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The primary issue isn’t lack of communication between phone and car, it’s that the shared-secret approach requires communication between phone and server, and in turn between server and car.
It's completely feasible to use asymmetric encryption and a different communication medium other than the Internet to facilitate direct negotiation between device and car, just as using your phone for payment at a point of sale system functions. That would allow using the digital key in areas without cell connectivity issues.
 

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It's completely feasible to use asymmetric encryption and a different communication medium other than the Internet to facilitate direct negotiation between device and car, just as using your phone for payment at a point of sale system functions. That would allow using the digital key in areas without cell connectivity issues.
I completely agree… Subaru could have implemented something like this, but I’m guessing they decided to rely on a third party’s existing solution. I’m actually a CISSP, so I have a tiny bit of familiarity with authentication mechanisms, lol.
 

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Following this up. Whatever system Subaru has, now or in the future, I really hope they focus on hardening it from hackers. Here are some examples (not Subaru, granted)


 

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My (unlikely situation for most of us, I hope) thought is to be using the phone as the digital key when you get pulled over for a felony stop and they want you to shut off the car and throw the keys out the window. Hah. o_O

But concerns about hackability are definitely on my mind, too.
 

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Apple has essentially made it easy for car manufacturers by developing their phone as a key technology with Apple wallet. All these companies need to stop trying to handle all the tech themselves sometimes. Lean on Apple and Google more.
 
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