Toyota to test car-sharing system that doesn’t use keys

Toyota logo is seen at a Toyota showroom in Tokyo, Wednesday, June 29, 2016. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
Toyota logo is seen at a Toyota showroom in Tokyo, Wednesday, June 29, 2016. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

DETROIT (AP) — Toyota will test a new car-sharing system next year that lets users unlock doors and start cars with their smartphones.

The Smart Key Box system eliminates the need for a physical key. Toyota will test the system in San Francisco with the Getaround car-sharing service starting in January. A Toyota investment fund put money into Getaround this month.

Toyota says a user’s phone will get codes to access the smart key box inside car-sharing vehicles. When the phone gets close to the vehicle, the codes are verified through the Bluetooth system.

If the experiment is successful, Toyota may use the system in Japan for an unmanned car rental business.

Toyota also is developing a system that lets an owner send car-sharing income to Toyota Financial Services to make lease payments.