Where did I leave the keys?: companies know that they bother you and present a new way to open the car
And the key to the car ?. It is the question that you have probably ever asked yourself. Then, that doubt is intermingled with another question: where will the duplicate be?
The new technologies come to put an end to this problem, which could be disappearing in the short term if the new systems for opening doors and engine start to mass, from proposals that have already developed some brands.
Product of an industry that has become one of the most innovative in the world, with automotive companies that, as in the case of Nissan, even have their offices in Silicon Valley, the advances that are being achieved are surprising. Beyond the car without a driver, other innovations tend to make life easier for people.
One of them is, precisely, that of the "cars without keys". That is to say, that the vehicles can be opened and turned on at a distance or with only approaching, without having anything in the hand.
It is a way to provide greater comfort and remove that obligation to be thinking where it is best to keep them so as not to lose them.
"In several markets where we conduct research, users indicate that one of the things that bothers most is to think about where to keep the key, with everything they carry, such as cell phones and wallets, it will be a relief if they disappear", reveals Fernando Díaz, Executive Manager Bosch Mobility Solutions.
In this context, more and more solutions appear to replace an element that will no longer be indispensable, at least as it has been conceived up to now.
The first inventions
The first replacements of the conventional ignition came when the button that takes the place of the key lock was implemented.
In the case of Renault, the idea went further and transformed it into a card similar to that of a bank teller.
The next step, and complementary, was to insert Keyless systems, which allow opening the vehicle without the need to resort to the traditional key. This technology identifies when the driver approaches the vehicle and avoids having to remove it from the pocket or purse.
The operation is based on receivers that are in the accesses of the car and inside it. With only one contact established, the door is unlocked and it is possible to enter by touching the handle.
On the other hand, the start will occur when the person is inside and press the start button, keeping the clutch depressed.
In these cases, although the physical key is not necessary, it is essential to have a similar device that fulfills this function so that the vehicle software enables the entry. Some brands went for more and developed systems that completely replace them.
Beyond the different functions of the conventional key, the most innovative is the possibility of opening the car with the cell phone. Many of these new systems operate through Bluetooth technology.
The first company to develop this system was Bosch, and since then some automakers use it as an alternative, without replacing it completely.
According to Díaz, they have been working for a long time for the cell phone to centralize everything. That is, from an app the car can be opened and started up.
"It works with an encryption system as secure as the fingerprint, which avoids any type of insecurity.With bluetooth the connection between the car phone is achieved and everything is more than simple", adds the expert.
In the company they work so that all these advances are part of the vehicle and suggest that you do not even have to take your cell phone out of your pocket to activate it.
Brands such as BMW, Toyota, Honda, General Motors and Mercedes Benz, among others, have already introduced contactless technology in some of their models to facilitate the opening through the mobile phone. However, Hyundai was the one that went a step further: it developed the "digital key" application that uses a smartphone to unlock and boot.
As explained by the automaker, the app uses a combination of wireless technologies to replace the key through a communication protocol (NFC) that detects a smartphone that must be authorized.
On the other hand, an NFC antenna on the handle of the driver's door allows locking and unlocking it, while another antenna on the wireless charging platform in the center console is the one that ensures that the engine can be started from the cell phone.
Bluetooth Low Energy technology allows remote start, up to 9 meters, remote lock and unlock and activate or deactivate the panic alarm.
The application can be used by up to four users, which facilitates the possibility of sharing the car.
The individual configurations for aspects such as seat position, mirror or radio memories are stored, so everything is adjusted automatically according to the user.
As described in Hyundai, this system has even more ambitious goals, since it would allow the unit to be available for the car-sharing service.
For example, the owner can set parameters for other people to use to provide some type of service while they are not using it.
The model that will debut this innovation is the Sonata 2020.
Other remote functions
Beyond these innovations, according to Consumer Reports, wireless keys have more functions than people know. Among them, they refer to benefits such as:
- Lower the windows instantly: using one of the buttons, the person can lower the windows so that the car is ventilated before going up
- Physical key inside: Many of the wireless keys have a physical key inside, in case it runs out of battery or car, without battery. The option is also included in those vehicles with automatic power button
- Remote and remote ignition: they also offer the option to turn the unit on several meters. Usually, the button appears as a circular arrow on the key
- Folding the mirrors: To avoid that the revision ones bother in the parking lots or be damaged, the wireless devices bend them automatically when activating the alarm or when closing the car.
- Call the vehicle: this feature is not so common in all cars, but recently implemented models such as Tesla. It consists of a button that turns on the lights of the car and automatically leaves them from parking places or garages
Are they safe?
While the farewell to the key rings takes center stage, the immediate future is to improve the keyless start systems so that everything is safer and no device is needed.
Currently, although the physical key is not necessary, it is essential that the person has a card or a similar device that fulfills these functions, in order to be recognized by the vehicle's central office and open it.
Also the opening systems become more secure to avoid remote duplication of the keys and prevent someone with sophisticated equipment from capturing the frequency of opening the car and stealing it. The future happens, precisely, to improve the encryption and adapt it to mobile technology to achieve better results.
Although contactless keyless opening and starting technology is booming, everything indicates that the future will be based on biometrics and ensuring that systems can not be hacked.
With this, it is sought to eliminate any device and that the car can be opened using the fingerprint of its owner or his face. For the time being, it has been tested on some prototypes and vehicle models, but it has not reached the big market.