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.
According to WMGT Channel 41 of Georgia, automakers are facing increasing scrutiny regarding the safety of their keyless start systems. According to the NBC affiliate, there are at least three carbon-dioxide related deaths – one in New York, and a pair in Florida – that are being blamed on the technology.
Anything that emits a signal can be intercepted. Or extended. So with that simple fact in mind, researchers at ETH Zurich in Switzerland were able to imitate the signal coming from a car's key fob, allowing them to open the doors and drive away. And it wasn't just one model from one brand. The study included 10 different models from eight manufacturers.
Not even James Bond has one of these: a watch that performs the functions of a keyless entry fob for your car. Developed by (or for) Chinese car manufacturer BYD, the gadget is made only for the F8 model. Press the top button on the right, and the car is locked, press the bottom button, the car is unlocked.