The question was posed recently in an email between some of the leading lights in the automotive locksmith industry was “How long will it be until car keys are a thing of the past?”. This question is obviously of great importance to automotive locksmiths as it’s their bread and butter, so in this piece, we will be exploring how the automotive industry is changing the way we will get into and start our vehicles in future.


Keyless entry systems have been around since 1998 when Mercedes-Benz introduced it in their S-class range, this didn’t have a great impact on the automotive locksmith industry at the time as widespread adoption didn’t happen until recently and even then, these keyless entry systems still required a physical device to be with the owner of the car. This meant that the most significant change automotive locksmiths had to deal with was changing the type of remotes/keys they stocked by adding proximity keys and in a way, the invention of Keyless Entry created opportunities for business savvy locksmith due to its vulnerability to relay attacks. These attacks meant that there were opportunities for locksmiths to provide additional security products to prevent them.

Today, however, we are already seeing smartphone apps being used as entry systems on a limited range of vehicles such as Tesla’s, Fords and BMW’s and there are also a range of third-party apps such as Apple CarPlay that are compatible with a large variety of modern vehicles. Another app that has been making waves in the realm of Keyless entry technology is Bosch’s Perfectly Keyless app which claims to be the first passive keyless entry app and also claims to be completely secure from any form of interference by thieves. A lot of this smartphone-based app technology has yet to be widely adopted however and the majority of people still use the keys that come with their vehicles’. One reason for this is that it is often offered at an additional cost by the dealer and another is simply people like to stick with what is familiar.

Ford has used another form of keyless entry system on some of its U.S models for years now as a backup should you lose your key or you can’t access your app for whatever reason. The keypad on certain Ford models allows the driver to enter a code to gain access to the vehicle and then once again inside the vehicle to start the ignition.

Another technology that has the potential to disrupt the automotive locksmith industry in the years to come is the adoption of in-built biometrics in vehicles, meaning the driver can enter and start their car via fingerprint. This has some significant advantages over smartphones as people still lose phones and they can run out of battery, meaning that even with the smartphone technology you still have to have an alternate way to enter your car. With biometrics built into the vehicle, this is no longer an issue, most people are unlikely to misplace their finger and if they do I wouldn’t recommend driving. Hyundai was the first manufacturer to release a car with biometric technology back in 2019, with their Santa Fe model but it was only sold in a few select markets.


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