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Ericsson and Lynk & Co Join Forces to Enhance Car Connectivity

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【Summary】The digital key allows people to unlock and operate vehicles connected to the network via the Share My Car app. This level of control will likely be used for car-sharing.

Michael Cheng    Apr 27, 2017 11:45 AM PT
Ericsson and Lynk & Co Join Forces to Enhance Car Connectivity

Two large companies have teamed up to carve their own path in the congested car connectivity space. Lynk & Co, an auto company under China-based Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, and Ericsson, a global telecommunications and digital networking firm based in Sweden, announced a timely partnership that aims to change the way consumers interact with cars.

Out of the two, Lynk, as a newly founded brand in 2016, has a lot to prove to the auto industry. Like Tesla, it plans to adopt a direct-to-consumer sales model for its products (customized equipment packages will replace trim models). The business will rely on Ericsson's experience in the electronics manufacturing and systems integration sector to release innovative products for smart cars.

Car-sharing Applications

The duo's first project involves developing a digital key application for modern vehicles. During the Shanghai Motor Show, the team conducted a live demo to showcase its features. The digital key allows people to unlock and operate vehicles connected to the network via the Share My Car app. This level of control will likely be used for car-sharing. In a live environment, the owner of the car would be able to share the vehicle to people and set specific times for usage.

On the other end of the service, the borrower is capable of receiving "security tokens" through the app, which can be used to unlock the car. The entire Lynk network is powered by Ericsson's cloud service. The group did not set a timeline for the release of the app during the demonstration. Rumors circulating suggest that Lynk wants to offer free data services for its smart features.

"The digital key solution was born out of an innovative co-creation exercise and through cloud technology we are able to offer a new service and functionality for our customers," said Alain Visser, Chairman of Lynk & Co.

Automotive researchers believe that car-sharing will shape the future of transportation, as previous reports indicate most private vehicles are not being used over 90 percent of the time.

03 Concept

Outside of the partnership with Ericsson, Lynk is working on its highly anticipated 03 Concept prototype. The four-door sedan will adopt designs from Volvo (its sister brand), including the Compact Modular Architecture. If all goes according to plan, the manufacturer could have its cars on the Chinese market by the end of the year. It also intends to release different versions of its vehicles in the US and Europe.

As mentioned earlier, Lynk is committed to bypassing traditional car selling models. Customers will have the option to fully own units, lease vehicles and "pay as you go" - a subscription option for people only interested in using the cars for short periods of time.

"All of this is nothing if not ambitious," explained Chris Paukert from Road Show.

"But with the financial backing and manufacturing expertise of one of China's biggest car companies, Geely, combined with the advanced safety and design expertise of Volvo, it would appear that Lynk & Co may actually have a better chance at long-term success than legions of other startup automakers."

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