If you think that, this article is about keys making phone calls or surfing the Internet; you are wrong. However, that does not make the smart key enabling to unlock vehicle doors and start your ride without the use of a physical key, less groundbreaking.
The smart key also called the proximity key or key remotes/fob – each one with different names for their particular systems. They have been around for a while dating back to the 1990s, although only featured on luxury automobiles. Now you may be wondering are they that smart and how does it work, let us find out!
How does this key work
The key uses radio waves to communicate to a matching vehicle with an embedded antenna to find and confirm its presence. On certain models such as the newer BMW, when you come at a distance of 1.5 meters the door by design locks or unlocks with a touch of a button.
Once in your vehicle, you just press the ignition button, located next to the steering column, start the car and off you go. Some smart keys, like those found in BMW, can store personal user settings so with the press of a single button adjusts the mirror, steering wheel, seat, and even your audio preferences automatically.
How smart is this Key Security Wise
Each key broadcasts different encrypted signals every time you lock/unlock a door or pops the boot remotely. One can find a computer chip located inside your car and is responsible for receiving the signal immediately and prompts for a new frequency. However, nothing is foolproof, and the manufacturers are always working to make the technology more secure as there have been faults with them such as:
Hackers wirelessly set off faults through the tire pressure sensors while other methods include hackers only using two antennas one carried by the hacker and one the fobs antenna by amplifying the signals between the transmitter and break in, and the words of all if the battery of the remotes flat your ride will not start.
What is to like about the smart key
I suppose the only positive thing about the smart key is luxury and convenience. There is no need for holding the key physically in your hand to enjoy the features. People keep it in their pocket or bag without the need for reaching in and digging around for it to get into their car.
What is not to like about the key
Always remember to buy the same token when handing over your vehicle to another driver as you may find yourself and the driver in a tight spot if the key is still on you. Another, problem you may find is when the key batteries life expectancy is gone, and you will not be able to go anywhere. So make sure you have a spare battery with you, as the doors will not open.
On the other hand, most of these smart keys should have a hidden metal key inside it to use in case of emergencies, and you should be able to open the door, as there is a concealed removable plastic cap near the door handle.
Also, for those living in areas where vehicle hi-jacking is high on the list, you may find yourself opening your car boot and someone getting into the driver seat and riding away with your investment.
Smart keys are a great way for those looking for comfort and luxury. As shown, they are not perfect when it comes to security. They are not fail-safe when the fobs battery dies on you, and you do not have a spare, but they do have a spare key built inside to use. Always make sure to have the exact extra fob when handing over your automobile to someone else. Manufacturers are busy working on the improvement of technology of these keys at all times as some newer systems warn you when the key is no longer in the car. Enjoy your luxury vehicle ride!
Heres an interesting app based key system that Volvo is developing.