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The present car had been improved significantly via the technologies available for the car manufacturer where they will spend more time and even millions or billions of money in the R & D for the car in order to provide some innovation for the car and use it in their promotion of the car to increase the sales of the car. In the past to lock, unlock and start the car the user need to pick up the key from his pocket or bag and proceed to do this. In the meantime, they are also an alarm system where the user can lock or unlock the car but still need to use the key to igniting the engine to start the car.

 

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The user can lock, unlock and start the car without taking the key from the pocket as illustrated in this diagram 

But the thing had changed significantly now in term of the car key. The car manufacturer will like to do some innovation or create something new for the flagship model. The Nissan Teana had come with Zero Gravity seat, Honda Accord comes with the Lane Watch technologies, BMW with the laser light in the new 7 series model, and much more. Mercedez-Benz in the past in their premium flagship model S Class W220 in 1998 had introduced the new type of key of locking , unlocking and starting the car under the name Keyless Go. Before they had introduced this key to the world they had patented in 1997 and since then the smart key had born and now it is standard among all the latest generation cars.

 

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Mercedez Benz S-Class W220 key fob

 

How does it work? Now the user can lock, unlock and start their car all without taking the key from the pocket or bag as this system uses several antennas in the car bodywork and radio pulse generator in the key fob and the user does not have any hassle to the take the key from the pocket or bag to start the car. They can do it all this while the key is still in the pocket and when it was introduced it become one the selling point and convenience for the premium luxury car owner and now in 2016 it is now available for the all-new generation car owners.

If the key for some reason had been malfunctioned, then they are a spare key that usually hidden in a key fob or a backup key ignitor that is usually covered for some styling depends on the car manufacturer. Like the Dual Clutch Transmission where some car manufacturer will like to call as DCT, DSG, Powershift and much more the smart key system for each car manufacturer to had a different name. For Honda it is Smart Entry System, BMW is Comfort Access, Audi is Comfort Key, Volkswagen like to call it as Keyless Entry & Keyless Start or KESSY, Volvo as Personal Car Communicator, Ford as Intelligent Access, and much more. The name is different but is still a smart key.

Since the introduction of the smart key, the start system for the car too had been changed. Where previously the user need to rotate the start ignition to start the car now it just a push of a button. Depends on the car manufacturer the start button can be located on the left side or right side, or  in the centre console. The system still needs to detect the key in order to start the car.

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Volkswagen Kessy system in the center console

 

Like all the new technologies they are too some pros and cons in the smart key system. We will look at the pros first.

With the smart key system now it more convenient for the user to start the car. In the past the user need to fumble in the pocket or in the bag to start the car but now with touching of the door handle to unlock, sat in the car seat and just pressing the start button to start the engine or off the engine and pressing the sensor or button in the car to unlock all this without taking the key from the pocket or bag. It is absolutely a step forward in term of starting the car.

With the smart key system, it is now harder to stole the car. Since the smart key system is computer signalled or in some case had some encrypted code depends on the car manufacturer , if the car unable to detect any of this then car will not be started and in some car manufacturer like the Ford smart key system ,the user can set up on how far the car can go if the smart key is not detected and in some car manufacturer the car system can automatically disable the ignition circuit if the invalid key or invalid code had been detected.

It definitely gives the car 21st centuries feel where the technologies had taken over of life in every possible way and with this type of key and start it is definitely like a high technologies car that had been taken straight of inspired from a science fiction movie.

Now let’s look at the cons of this smart key system. If the user had lost the smart key or the key had been malfunctioned, then the cost of the replacing it is definitely high. Where the normal key can be made via any key shop, the smart key system is fully computerized and it can only be changed by the official car dealer whom can charge a hefty price tag and in this situation a vendor lock-in will occur.

The car manufacturer had now installed more function in the smart key such parking the car, checking the car whether is locked or unlocked, and much more and in doing this they need to make the key fob bigger which sway away from convenience factor that it had previously. The user may find it hard to put in a pocket or need to kept the key separately if they need to add more key in the key fob.

The smart key system although it is harder stole but in London in 2014, 6,000 cars (about 17 per day) were stolen using keyless entry. So the system can be hacked to stole the car and also they are some device that sold on the internet that can copy the code of the original smart key to steal the user car. So the smart key is not a formidable opponent for the car thieves.

The smart key definitely had its flaw but the convenience that it gives the user and the choices that it gave to the car manufacturer to install more features in the key is something that can’t be denied. The smart key will definitely improve in the future and for now, it is the way to start a car.

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