The car key, in one word, why?
It's 2017 and we're still carrying around little trinkets like this to operate one of the most high tech devices in the world.
Now, yes, getting rid of car keys has been possible but for so long, it's also been possible like a flying car is possible.
They both share something in common.
Making the idea market ready but now it's finally happening, and as in so many areas of car technology, Tesla is forcing the issue.
The new Model 3 is the first mass production car built without
of traditional car keys.
A Tesla app on your phone talks to the car via Bluetooth LE, low energy, to handle locking and what we used to call starting, but which, in an EV, is merely authorizing power to flow.
There's no clunky key fob to carry or lose or get batteries for Making or taking keys for and from family members is as easy as a few taps on an app.
And true personalization happens.
Haven't we fiddled with those twentieth century seat memory buttons long enough.
If your phone is dead you'll need to have your NFC key card, the backup, in your wallet.
It's like the one that gets you into your office.
But, of course, the payments industry wants to move us away from wallets.
Iris scan anyone?
If you don't have a smartphone, the Model 3 is probably not the car for you, for a lot of reasons.
Including the fact that inside it basically is one.
And if you're worried about hacking, well, then stop banking.
This uses about the same kind of security.
Bottom line, it's happening.
But know that the keyless world for cars didn't start with personal vehicles.
It began with shared cars, the modern car share service was somewhat made possible by the idea of using an app and cloud based authorization to get into the car.
And Silver Car is a more typical rental service that uses an app and bar code on the car for you to claim the vehicle and get in it.
But after that, you rummage around the console to find the ignition key.
And as with almost any technology innovation in vehicles, we didn't get there in one hop.
It's been a long road with a lot of First we had those slim metal keys like housekeys basically, usually one for the ignition another for doors.
And that gave way decades ago to the addition of a remote key fob on your key ring.
Around that time, Ford introduced their still unique exterior key pad in 1980 but it controls access not ignition.
Later we got the integrated remote that's actually part of the head of the key And then came today's unfortunate era of the biggest keys ever.
And which we almost never have to touch.
Some fobs are hooked up to remote start systems as well to warm or cool the car before you get in, and OnStar was the first to give us remote start via the Cloud, as well as remote stop if you've been a bad boy.
And of course we have today what some consider the ultimate absurdity, push button start that requires a key that you keep in your pocket and never use.
And of course in some cases, the key fob has gotten so huge.
I tested a Maserati once with a fob almost as big and heavy as an iPhone.
And of course some BMW 7s and soon 8s have an enormous fob because it's the interface
By which you can park the car when you're not actually in it.
Now if you're still in love with that characteristic jingle in your pocket, don't sweat it.
For the next decade or so, we're very likely going to see cars with traditional keys that also add the ability for you to use an app to get in and out of the car, and possibly start it, as well.
It'll be a gradual migration.
And the car may be one of the last thing in our lives that isn't controlled and related to, by an app, the cloud, and a phone.