Using an intelligent identification card that acted as a transponder, Siemens offered a way to replace traditional ignition keys, as well as key fob-controlled keyless entry systems and engine immobilizer functions on a vehicle.
Can't find your keys? Siemens finds a solution
To commemorate 25 years of PACE Awards for supplier innovation, Automotive News each week is looking at one of the many winners.
- 2000: Siemens
- Trade name: Keyless Go
- Innovation: An intelligent identification card equipped with a transponder that, even if inside a pocket or purse, could unlock and start a vehicle.
- Why it resonated: Once convinced that their vehicle couldn't be locked with the driver outside and the Keyless Go device inside, consumers loved the convenience.
The technology worked by emitting a low-frequency signal as the driver approached the vehicle. The signal also could configure seats, steering wheel and mirror positions, along with audio presets and temperature settings according to the user's preferences. As the driver pulled the door handle, the identification card and the car's security system communicated on a two-way basis, granting permission to unlock the door. With the card still in the driver's pocket or purse, the vehicle could then be started with the touch of a button.
Depending on the model, the vehicle could be locked by pressing a point on a door handle or simply walking away.
Overrides built into the system could identify the driver even if two people with Keyless Go cards approached the vehicle. To ensure security, the keyless device had 4 billion possible security codes that changed randomly each time the vehicle was entered.
Siemens also included an safety attribute that proved attractive to vehicle owners. The Keyless Go device had to be inside the vehicle to start it. At the same time, it also prevented the door from locking if the card was inside but the driver was not.
The technology anticipated a trend that continues, as automakers and suppliers develop ways to communicate directions, commands, safety measures and more to vehicles electronically.