The Korea Herald


Car keys are getting smarter

By 줄리 잭슨 (Julie Jackson)

Published : Jan. 30, 2017 - 14:25

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It has been roughly a decade since smart keys first appeared in Korea, allowing drivers to lock and unlock their car door via the press of a button. However, with the advent of smart technology, industry insiders are expecting car keys to make even more significantly high-tech strides by 2020.

Korea’s largest automaker Hyundai Motor Co. revealed late last month that it is currently developing a wrist-band-type smart key for the first time in the local automotive industry. The smart device is expected to allow drivers to remotely open their car doors and trunk and start the engine.

The company says it expects the smart band to be released sometime this year or 2018 at the latest. 

Jaguar has already unveiled its new “Activity Key” -- a wearable smart wrist band that allows drivers to lock and unlock their car doors with a simple wrist swipe -- for its 2017 F-Pace SUVs.

BMW’s latest smart key with the world’s first Remote Control Parking. (BMW Korea) BMW’s latest smart key with the world’s first Remote Control Parking. (BMW Korea)

Last year, BMW took smart keys to new heights with its 2016 7 Series models coming equipped with one of the automotive industries more versatile and technology-savvy smart keys to date.

Featuring a LCD display, BMW’s latest smart key not only allows drivers to remotely lock and unlock the car doors and control the car’s climate, but the new key also includes the world’s first Remote Control Parking. The autonomous parking system allows one to move the car in and out a parking space while standing outside.

The company said the upcoming new 5 series model will also be equipped with the new high-tech touch screen key.

   However, while smart keys are continuing to evolve, smartphone makers are still in the running to replace keys in the coming years.

Last June, Apple patented a key feature that allows the iPhone to control various vehicle systems. In particular, Apple‘s patented technology will not only allow users to remotely start a car’s engine, but will also be able to adjust one’s seat with a touch of a button. The technology is expected to be commercialized by 2020.

Officials at Volvo announced that later this year the automaker is set to become the world’s first automaker to offer cars that require no key at all, just a smartphone.

By Julie Jackson (