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#TechTalk: Smart Key vs Keyless Entry

Posted March 3, 2022

A 2021 survey by research firm AutoPacific identified the top 10 features that buyers look for in a vehicle. Vehicle access-related features are not on the list probably because a key with remote access comes standard in a lot of vehicles nowadays. As standard as they are, car keys are often overlooked—with some people clueless about, for example, Smart Keys and Keyless Entry.

How can you tell one from the other? Don’t fret. We’re here to explain.

Keyless Entry is more a means of accessing the vehicle than it being a type of key. As the name suggests, keyless entry, also known as passive entry, involves using key fob buttons to lock and unlock the vehicle. 

Contrary to the term, keyless entry does not necessarily mean “no keys.” Normally, a key fob with keyless entry feature would still have a metal key as a fail-safe means to access the vehicle in case the battery runs out or the electronics get busted.

On the other hand, a Smart Key takes the keyless entry feature a step further. It is a computerized key, which accesses the vehicle’s locking mechanism via radio pulses. With a smart key, you can lock and unlock the vehicle without having to press any button on the key fob. You unlock the vehicle by simply pressing a button or sensor fitted onto the door handle.

However, for the locking mechanism to work, the key needs to be within proximity of the vehicle, like inside the driver’s pocket. This is an added layer of security for your car. It identifies its smart key from the radio pulse generator in the key housing, which detects the radio signal through one of the many antennas fitted around the vehicle. This allows the driver to activate the ignition through the push start button. More modern Smart Key systems enable the driver to turn on the engine remotely through the key fob.

In the next edition of #TechTalk, we will talk about digital keys that are currently available in the latest Hyundai models.