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The Evolution of the Keyless Entry System
Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Ever since the introduction of the first automobile back in 1885, this marvelous invention has come a long way. From a three wheeled, crude chassis bolted with an internal combustion engine to 8-litre, 16 cylinder engines belting out 1,479 hp, cars have evolved massively. And not only cars, the technology that goes in them has transformed with times too. From smarter, more efficient engines to exhaust systems that convert harmful gases from combustion to more environment friendly ones, from solar panels embedded in the roofs to apps that remotely lock, unlock and start the car for you. The makers of these impressive systems never cease to amaze us.

Like most developments, the keyless entry system has changed too over the years. Cars today don’t even require keys. You can use an app on your phone to gain access and use your vehicle but was it always this easy? The answer is no!

The early days of the crank shaft used for ignition

During the early days, cars had crank shafts that had to be pulled in order to start up the engine in a car. This was essentially like the kick starter that one finds on a smaller motorcycle or a hand pulled engine starter in some power generators. Apart from being extremely time consuming, this starting mechanism was also a test of physical strength and caused injuries in many instances. The first ignition keys only came along in 1916.

The transition from ignition keys to remotes

Ever since their introduction up till the present day, many cars still use ignition keys to gets the engine running. High-end models are equipped with ignition buttons that perform the same task. The entry system on most modern cars is usually through a remote. The iteration of this system was launched by Ford in 1980 when they gave the world a five digit keypad that allowed you to gain access to your car by entering a specific code. The first remote for keyless entry was introduced by Renault in 1982. From then on things just got better and better with every passing year.

Modern times: the smart entry systems

Mercedes and Siemens took the automotive industry by storm when the introduced the revolutionary smart-less entry in the S-class back in 1998. It allowed a user to walk close to the car with the remote in their pockets and simply pull the door handle to gain access to the car.

Even when inside, the person didn’t need to pull the remote out; they could simply press a button on the dashboard to start the car and drive around. It was a huge leap back then however today it’s available in most cars around the world. Modern sports cars like the BMW i8 provide apps to lock, unlock, start and perform other functions on your car. The BMW 7 series provides a remote that even allows you to drive the car without being in it and the list just goes on and on. The prospects are genuinely amazing!

Having come all the way from crank shafts to smart entry systems today, we never know what technology might be introduced tomorrow. Keyless and smart entry systems can now be installed if they weren’t factory fitted in your car. These systems free you from the hassle of looking for keys all the time. However, it is important to be aware of counterfeit products in this regard that are available at cheaper prices and are susceptible to compromise.

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