The Locking and Unlocking of your Vehicle

I am very happy that my car still uses a key fob with an actual key. I have the option of unlocking my car doors and trunk with the push of a button from a few feet away or if the digital part of my key fob doesn’t work, I still have the ability to unlock the door and start my car.

Not so with many new cars on the market today. Utilizing a digital key fob can be a great convenience but if it doesn’t work for whatever reason you probably won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.

No doubt, unlocking and locking your car and even starting your engine remotely with a digital key fob is a nice feature. This is especially true if you live in South Dakota mid-January and the air temp is -40 with wind chill at -70 or if you’re faced with a downpour and need to get in your car quick.

With all this convenience though are we actually giving away too much independence and personal security?

While remote locking and unlocking a car is sold as a crime prevention feature, it could also serve as your own personal impromptu prison. Authorities could perhaps abuse their power and trap whomever they wish inside their vehicles whether they were suspects, criminals or just law abiding citizens trying to go from A to B. An example of this new technology–BMW recently assisted the Seattle police in both tracking and remotely locking a car thief inside the car he had stolen.

BMW says there is a manual override to their locking feature but apparently you need to understand how the override works before a situation arises. That doesn’t really help if you’re trying to get out of your car in a hurry due to some sort of emergency or a scenario of remote hacking or just trying to get into your car to drive home after a long day at work.

Key fobs can also be remotely hacked too. An auto theft ring in Houston, Texas was caught in August 2016. The thieves used a laptop to program blank key fobs with codes they obtained illicitly from the Fiat Chrysler database. The ring stole 100 Jeep and Dodge vehicles that they later sold in Mexico.

In August, a British researcher and a German engineering firm announced a need for a recall of several VW models as well as some other brands sold between 1995 and 2016. The problem—the cars’ remote keyless entry systems could be hacked allowing thieves to potentially unlock and steal these vehicles. As many as 100 million cars could be affected.

Smartphone apps will be the next big thing in the car key arena. Utilizing these digital key fobs and smart phone apps will only increase our daily anxiety.

What is really so wrong with just a simple key?

NMA’s Car of the Future Watch for January 12, 2017

The latest headlines from around the country on the car of the future.  To see these articles and more check out the Flipboard Magazine Car of the Future. This roundup also appears every Thursday on the National Motorists Association Facebook page.

CES 2017 Report

-Toyota’s Concept-i Envisions an Autonomous Future That’s actually Fun and also tracks your every movement and mood.

-AT&T announced plans to become the backbone for car connectivity.

-Nissan announced it wants humans in the self-driving loop.

-Audi, Nvidia aim to deliver Level 4 autonomous vehicle by 2020.

-Alphabet’s Waymo Cuts Cost of Key Self-Driving Sensor by 90%. The company also plans to begin testing its driverless car by the end of January.

-Honda unveils NeuV and Riding Assist concepts at 2017 CES.

-Trucking industry gets a glimpse of connected & driverless trucks at 2017 CES.

Auto Industry News

-Ford and Toyota are creating a nonprofit called SmartDeviceLink Consortium to manage open software for smartphone app development for vehicles. They are joined by seven other partners: Mazda, PSA Group, Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd., and Suzuki Motor Corp, Elektrobit, Luxoft and Xevo.

-Ford announced that it will build and sell a self-driving taxi by 2021.

-Ericsson, Orange and PSA Group have joined forces to bring 5G connectivity to Cars.


-Seattle Carsharing companies are cracking down on drunk drivers.

-Honda unveils first electric ridesharing concept car.

-Uber opens a website called Movement–their data on traffic that researchers and planners can use.

Connected Cars and Connected Cities

-New asset management platform called “ATOM” plugs machine learning into transportation.

Driverless Cars

-California: Self-driving shuttles could roll out on SF Treasure Island by 2020.

-Chao: Driverless Car proponents are pleased with Transportation Sec-Elect Chao support on the car of the future.

State/City News

-CO DOT with Panasonic test will begin testing V2V, V2I, and V2X on the I-70 Mountain Corridor.

-Washington D.C. has been selected as a world city to lead autonomous driving regulations.

Check out the Driving News Feed at the National Motorists Website for all the latest developments.  And we invite you to read the NMA Sunday blog entitled Car of the Future Watch written by Shelia Dunn, NMA Communications Director.

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