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What are Smart Key?

Whar are Smart Keys?

Some cars have a proximity system that is triggered if a keylike transducer is within a certain distance of the car. Sometimes called hands-free or advanced key,one of the earliest systems was found on the 1993 Chevrolet Corvette (called the Passive Keyless Entry System) and in Mercedes-Benz vehicles from 1998. Today, this system is commonly found on a variety of vehicles.

With the smart key system, a vehicle can be unlocked without the driver needing to physically push a button on the key fob to lock or unlock the car and is also able to start or stop the ignition without physically having to insert the key and turning the ignition. Instead, as you approach the vehicle, the vehicle senses that the key (located in a pocket, purse, etc.) is approaching the vehicle. When inside the car's required distance there are two methods typically used by auto manufacturers to unlock the doors:

  • Method 1 — Once the keyholder is in the car's "bubble" (the required distance from the vehicle for the key to be recognized) the car will automatically unlock the driver's door.
  • Method 2 — Once inside the car's "bubble" the car doesn't unlock the door unless the keyholder touches one of the sensors located behind the door handles. As others attempt to get in, the system senses that the driver is within the "bubble" and as they touch the sensors behind their door handles, the car will unlock their door.

In certain vehicles, there are also various functions built into the transmitter to perform various tasks. For instance, pressing the unlock button twice and keeping the button depressed on the second push allows the keyholder to roll down certain pre-programmed windows and/or the sunroof. Other functions range from turning on the headlights and various electronic equipment (factory or aftermarket). On some Toyota, Nissan and Hyundai vehicles, the system prevents the driver or passenger from accidentally locking the keys in the car, via the sensor that detects whether the keyholder is within the "bubble" area outside the vehicle.