Advancements in technology were meant to not only make our lives more convenient, but also more secure. That is what car manufacturers had in mind when they began offering ‘keyless’ remote fobs in newer model vehicle, rather than your traditionally cut key blade. For one New Zealand couple, this advancement in technology was nearly deadly, although; their keyless entry fob was not technically at fault. The elderly couple became trapped in their Mazda 3 after leaving their keyless fob outside of the vehicle in their garage.
The couple believed that without their keyless fob, that they would be unable to operate the locks on their car. After 13 hours inside of the car they were finally rescued by neighbors. When the neighbors found the couple, the Smiths, Mrs. Smith was already unconscious and Mr. Smith was struggling to breathe. Emergency responders said that, during that time period, the couple had used up all the oxygen inside of their vehicle and the whole situation would have likely been fatal if the could had spent another half hour inside of their locked vehicle. After being told that they could have manually used the door handle to open the car door, the couple was left slightly embarrassed. They still believe that the car salesman should have given a more detailed explanation, so that they would have known that manually unlocking the door was an option.
The General Manager of Mazda New Zealand, Glenn Harris, said that it was not a flaw in the design of the car that left this couple locked inside. He stated that for any technology like their keyless fob, there is always a manual override to ensure safety, but that salespeople should be sure to explain the technology in its entirety to customers. The hope being that an explanation of all of the features would avoid a situation like this in the future.
Why Have Manufacturers Turned to Keyless Ignitions?
In their continued quest to provide increased security and convenience to customers, car manufacturers have turned to keyless ignitions in their newest models. Keyless ignitions are much more difficult for an automotive thief to compromise than your traditional car key. With a traditional bladed key, it is possible for a thief to copy your existing key to steal your vehicle. Since a keyless ignition fob uses a transponder chip rather than a keyblade, the thief would need a programmed fob in order to steal the vehicle. This is next to impossible for a thief to do and also very rare for even a locksmith to complete. Programming a fob not only requires access to the vehicle’s computer, but also a good deal of training and expensive tools. This added security, in addition to the convenience that a fob offers, are the main reasons that car manufacturers have made a shift to keyless ignitions.
It makes sense that manufacturers want to increase the amount of security through any means possible, but they must also realize that their vehicle sales are to a diverse range of people. Not only are tech-savvy people of the younger generation going to be purchasing these vehicles, but also individuals who may not be as technically inclined as others. This means making a commitment to teaching customers about new technology crucial to avoid situations like this from occurring in the future.