Wow, what an awesome key-fob. Key fob. What does that even mean? What is a fob? The word “fob” was used originally as the word to describe the ornaments attached to pocket watch chains in the early 1800’s and onward. Nowadays the term “fob” refers to any number of things, from garage door openers to the RFID devices used to get inside of buildings, or the devices used to open cars. In fact, nowadays many “fobs” are often just “keys.” Many automotive companies are changing vehicles to push start, and simply require that the fob be in relative distance of the ignition to start the engines. How awesome can the key fob get? Are there more technological advancements on the way to help make people’s lives easier?
Potentially the Greatest Fob
What if the greatest key fob was integrated into the preexisting lineup of items that are necessary for going out anywhere? Technically, if a car is involved, car keys are required, and therefore, the key fob for that car is required. However, with the emergence of Bluetooth and RFID technology, smart phones can now be used to hold credit card information and pay for items without having a physical debit or credit card. What if smartphones could also double as the keys to a vehicle?
There has been talk of having mobile technology replace car keys for some time in the automotive world, and technology just has not allowed the change to take place. Technically, if a signal needs to travel through the Internet, it potentially could be slower than a traditional key. Not to mention, users would need to potentially pay for data charges just so they could get inside of their vehicles.
These aspects may be somewhat trivial, but compare a smartphone key fob device to Apple Pay or Android Pay. Paying with a mobile device is somewhat instant and only requires thumbprint or passcode verification when trying to do so. It should not be that much more difficult to incorporate the same technology into a vehicle’s lock and startup systems.
Imagine being able to control every aspect of a vehicle using a smartphone. Potentially, with automotive automation, also imagine being able to pull that same vehicle up to whatever location desired, simply by dragging a finger across a map. Programmed routes could be used to pick up kids from school, or adults from work. This could save time, both from commutes and all the driving around looking for parking spots close to the office downtown.
Of course, any technological advancement has pushback, especially ideas that pose potential security or safety threats. Obviously, automotive automation has not made any sort of major debut in the world of the average consumer, but opposition still exists for the idea of controlling a car with a mobile device.
How can ownership be transferred to another user if the car is sold? What happens if the owner’s mobile device runs out of battery, will he or she be stranded? These are all valid questions, but they are not questions that cannot be solved with a little bit of thought.
What it all Means
Henry Ford said, “If I asked people what they wanted, they would’ve said faster horses.” In the world of innovation, sometimes the best way to accomplish something is to color outside of the lines. Smartphones potentially could make the greatest, most convenient key fobs. It seems like the trend to push everything into our mobile devices is increasing more and more each day. App developers are coming up all the time with new ways to creatively attack life’s problems. It will be an exciting thing to see where automotive technology decides to turn in regards to the object so many of us have used so many times for so long, the key fob.
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