It is becoming simpler and more complicated at the same time. It is no longer necessary to push a button or make use of a key when opening the doors of the car, it is sufficient to carry the chip card; and the engine starts by pushing a button. The deactivation of the immobilizer and overcoming the steering wheel lock have become obsolete. Even the starter is electronically regulated, preventing that it is switched on longer than necessary. However, this might cause new problems. What about if - by accident - the passenger with the smart card leaves the vehicle? It is possible someone else to take the driver's seat and get on going. Will we notice people illegally tanking with running engine again, because the smart card already made its way home?
How it works
In principle this system controls the central locking system and the immobilizer. The smart cards, up to four per vehicle, must always be initialized on one particular vehicle, and contain both a rechargeable accumulator and a battery. The accumulator can be loaded inductively, if there is a slot for the smart card in the dashboard. Some systems offer the possibility to separately open or close doors or the boot lid with push buttons. It is practical if all windows and the sliding roof are integrated into the system.
The door handles (picture) have changed. Switches are inserted instead of the former keyholes and infrared sensors are added as access recognition. For emergency cases, the smart card contains a key and the door handle (possibly hidden) still an old fashioned keyhole.
The interior (3 sensors) and the environment of the vehicle (5 sensors) are separately and with different frequency scanned for the presence of the smart card. If it is present in the rather exactly outlined range, the doors can be opened either by the user or by the self operation of the system. The sensors in the interior de-activate the immobilizer and permit the engine to be started. Before or while starting the engine, additional conditions have to be fulfilled, for example the doors and baggage compartment must be closed and either the clutch must be engaged, or the stick-shift must be in idle position, or the brake pedal must be operated. It is difficult to just switch on the ignition. Without actually starting the engine, it is only possible by neglecting the stated conditions specified above, not engaging the clutch and not putting the stick-shift in idle position. The system is an improvement in general, yet for some actions the brain activity has increased.
If the chip card features a light emiting diode, this can inform whether the last action has been to lock or unlock the vehicle.