"It does a lot of the thinking for you," said Dave Proefke, a General Motors Technical Fellow. "It tries to determine your intended action and perform that action for you."
The intelligent car key sends out a constant stream of data to the vehicle that includes where the key is located. That helps the car decide whether the doors should be locked or unlocked based on pre-programmed behavioral scenarios.
The LaCrosse can be equipped with push-button start with smart key technology. It knows whether or not the key is present inside the car. If it is, theft-deterrent encrypted coding allows the vehicle to start. The highly sophisticated system removes many of the mechanical systems such as wiring and cylinders that can make a vehicle easier to steal.
"With push-button start available on the CXL and standard on the CXS, LaCrosse owners can enter the vehicle, push a button to start the car and away they go," said Proefke. "No more fumbling for keys."
Buick's thinking car key knows when it has been left behind in a vehicle. Automatically sensing a lockout situation, it will alert the driver that the keys are still inside the vehicle. If the driver attempts to manually lock the doors, the fob system will keep the doors unlocked.
"In the future, the functions that are on the key fob could be built into smartphone apps," Proefke said. "Also, key fobs will become smaller and more jewelry-like and could even be worn."