Evolution of Car Keys
Technological advancements have raised the overall standard of the automobile industry. Driver comfort and convenience has gradually become one of the major benchmarks. Small changes have made a big difference in terms of overall ride experience. One such example is how car keys and locking mechanism have evolved over the years.
The following paragraphs will elaborate on the evolution of car keys and the impact of this evolution on vehicle safety.
History of Car Keys
The concept of car keys were introduced during the era of the 1940s, when the key ignition system in automobiles was debuted. Chrysler’s 1949 model is known to be the first car to use a key ignition system. Before this era, keys were not used to start the ignition, rather a typical handle was used to generate current. Moreover, cylinder locks similar to door locks were used to lock the vehicles. In the 1990s, the concept of centralised locking was introduced that revolutionized the car keys. Let’s discuss how car keys have changed over the years in detail.
Car Keys over the Years
The introduction of centralized locking increases the significance of car keys in the automobile industry. Since then, the manufacturers are focusing on creating more convenient, advanced and user-friendly car keys embedded with a number of other functions. We have listed different types of car keys used over the years.
The Conventional One (1949 to 1980)
Initially, one-sided car keys were introduced for the cylinder locks used in doors and ignition. This earliest version was not secured and can be easily copied. To reduce car theft, double-sided keys were introduced. The locks were designed to recognise a double-sided pattern of key, thus was considered potential in reducing car theft.
Coded Resistor (1980 to 1990)
For a longer time period, conventional car keys ruled the automobile industry till the initiation of resistor keys. These keys were embedded with resistor colour coding that works by recognising the band on keys. At the time of its release, these resistor- coded keys were considered more reliable. This popular system was used by a number of car manufacturers till the 1990s.
Laser-Cut Keys (1990s)
The start of the 19th century was the era of the experiment. Internet and technological advancements were rapidly shifting industry standards. Modern car safety features become the essential elements of a car. At the start of the 19th century, laser cut keys were introduced. These keys are specifically designed with constant depth between the keys. Therefore, laser cut keys can be used from both sides. This innovation was introduced to address the common issue of car keys stuck in the ignition system. However, laser-cut keys were soon replaced by remote control keys.
Switchblade (1990 to 2000)
The history of Mercedes Benz S-Class elaborates the luxury and innovative features that the car series have introduced in the automobile industry. Switchable or remote control car keys were also introduced by this series. The remote was connected to the centralized locking system of the vehicle and can be armed or disarmed with a single push. Along with buttons, the remote also contains a key attached to the remote, that was used for ignition. All the latest key fob systems that we witnessed in modern cars are based on this system.
Smart Card (2003)
Another innovative car key was also introduced by Mercedes in 2003. This time, the key was replaced with a smart card similar to any credit or debit card. The users can swap the smart card on the door to lock or unlock the vehicle. However, this innovative design was short-lived and was not available in any other model series.
Transponder Keys (2004 to 2015)
The modified version of the switchblade excludes the necessity of a key to start the car. These cars were introduced with a keyless ignition system that operates on the basis of a key transponder. These key fobs contain a radio transmitter and the ignition system is a receiver. To make it more secure, the keyless ignition system is synchronized with the key fob. Therefore, if one malfunctions, both the parts need to be replaced. With time, a number of other functions were also embedded in the key fob.
Smart Key Fob (2016 to present)
In 2016, even the key fob technology was obsolete by the introduction of the smart key fob technology of BMW. The car manufacturer introduced a smart key fob with a display that facilitates drivers in controlling a number of car features. For instance: the vehicle climate control system can be operated through the smart key fob from a distance. Moreover, using the autonomous driving features the cars can also be parked just by pressing a single button on the key fob.
It is the most recent technology used in vehicles. The technology was introduced by the all-electric autonomous driving car Tesla. The app keeps on running on your hand-held electronic device and can be operated anytime. This provides more variety of features contrary to smart key fobs.
This was all about the evolution of car keys. The car manufacturers aim to design more protective and convenient car key designs with time. Currently, a smart key fob is the most common type of car key used in vehicles. If you are still using the old key system, it is time to upgrade your vehicle. Browse through these used cars for sale in the UAE and leverage the latest car key entry systems.
Stay tuned to UAE’s top auto blog for more information on car keys.