Five years ago, if you owned a vehicle with push button start, you probably owned a luxury vehicle or high-end sports car. For 2011, there are 189 vehicles with push start technology, including many vehicles that retail for less than $20,000. But while the technology has proliferated to nearly every vehicle segment, each automaker has its own keyless ignition mechanism.

Automotive News reports that the Society of Automobile Engineers (SAE) International isn't crazy about this, and it's looking to standardize keyless ignition systems. The move can be at least partially viewed as a reaction to unintended acceleration issues faced by Toyota. Some Toyota owners who reported reported the UA phenomenon were unable to turn off the vehicle because Toyota's programmers necessitate that the star/stop button must be pressed for three or more seconds to cut off power to the engine.

According to Automotive News, the SAE proposes that drivers should be able to stop the vehicle by pressing the button for .5 to two seconds, or by briefly pressing the button two or three times.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has also reportedly added that it may propose a rule this year to standardize the systems, leading at least one automaker to consider waiting to redesign their systems until uniform standards can be agreed upon. Interestingly, a poll by AN revealed that while General Motors, Ford, Volkswagen, Honda, Nissan, Chrysler and Hyundai planned to comply with the SAE standard – only Toyota says that it won't follow the guidelines until it learns if NHTSA will chime in with its own regulations, as well.

[Source: Automotive News - sub. req. via Automobile]
Image by Chris Shunk / Copyright ©2010 Weblogs, Inc.

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