OREANDA-NEWS. February 23, 2016. Smartphones have become increasingly important to the experience of driving your car, from navigation to entertainment. If Volvo has its way, within the next few years, its importance will rise markedly as it grows to replace your car key.

In lieu of a physical key, Volvo plans to offer a smartphone application that contains a digital car key. It'll let you do everything a physical key does -- open the doors, open the trunk and start the engine. The app will function as a key ring of sorts, so folks can have multiple keys for multiple vehicles at the ready.

Clearly, this kind of tech can be used for more than just personal car ownership. Volvo envisions receiving rental-car keys immediately after reserving one, and a car-sharing economy where multiple people can wield digital keys for the same vehicle.

"Our innovative digital key technology has the potential to completely change how a Volvo can be accessed and shared," said Henrik Green, Volvo's vice president of product strategy. "Instead of sitting idle in a parking lot the entire day, cars could be used more often and efficiently by whomever the owner wishes."