WITH the right gadget it takes just five seconds to break into your van if you have keyless entry.
Such gadgets to ‘steal’ your radio signal are readily available on the internet but the clever people at Bosch have come up with a smartphone app which stores a virtual key. Sensors installed in the car recognise the owner’s smartphone as securely as a fingerprint and opens the doors only for them.
It’s called Perfectly Keyless and can be used in vans, cars and entire car-sharing fleets and unlike conventional keyless entry systems, when the vehicle key still needs to be carried by the driver, it communicates with the car using a radio signal in the low frequency (LF) or ultra high frequency (UHF) range.
The Bosch system uses the smartphone as virtual key and Bluetooth as the transmission technology. This means that the vehicle key can actually stay at home.
Bluetooth plays a key role. Together with sensors installed in the vehicle and a special control unit, they form a system that opens the door only for the smartphone containing the virtual key.
The system blocks signals from other smartphones or from electronic devices that manipulate the radio transmission.
Virtual vehicle keys on smartphones have long been a feature of vehicle-sharing fleets which don’t move until their operator authorises entry via the cloud; only then can a user unlock the vehicle, start it, and lock it again using an app.
This conversation between the phone and the vehicle uses near-field communication (NFC), a wireless protocol for sharing data over distances of a few centimeters.
Users have to take out their smartphone before each journey and hold it up to a marked area on the vehicle. Only then can the system recognise the user and unlock the doors.