Owning a car gives great satisfaction, as is well known. And these days they are wonderful, dazzling and technological. It is inevitable however that they are accompanied by at least two major concerns: accidents and theft. If we can avoid the possibility of the first category with safe and prudent driving, how do we avoid the unfortunate circumstances of the second?
This is a problem that was also faced by insurance agencies especially after 1989 when the fall of the Berlin wall, celebrated as a triumph of freedom, also encouraged profitable and illegal activities.
In Germany there was an increase from 38,000 stolen cars in 1989 to 141,000 in 1991 to then exceed a million and a half vehicles throughout Europe. A significant problem.
It was therefore logical in such circumstances that a remedy was needed. The response to car thieves was a system of immobilisation to which was added shortly afterwards, and adhering to precise European regulations that required this on all cars to be registered, a transponder (abbreviation of transmitter + responder), fitted to the plastic head of the keys.
Pioneers in the use of transponder keys were Audi-VW and Ford in 1994 followed by all the other manufacturers.
The system is relatively simple and effective and is based on two-way communication between the key with transponder and the ignition block equipped with antenna.
When you turn the key, the lock sends a low frequency radio signal and the key receives and retransmits it immediately with the identification code contained in the fixed memory of the transponder. Only if the signal is identified does the immobiliser allow ignition of the engine. There’s no need for batteries because powering occurs through electromagnetic induction.
The first transponder keys with ROM read-only memory used a fixed code and were able to identify something close to 1,099,511,627,776 different objects. Then came the Rolling Codes used by brands such as BMW and Mercedes capable of modifying the code upon each ignition conversing with the control unit of the car.
The Texas Challenge Code Crypto models of 2004 had a potential of literally hundreds of billions of codes: assigning a code the value of 1 mm, a distance equal to approximately three times that between the earth and moon would be covered!
Today, 128-bit latest generation transponders are able to conceive something like 340 billion billion billion billion codes. If we were to use the fastest PC available, processing 100,000,000 codes per second, it would take us an infinite number of years! Truly stratospheric!
The most important defence of a car against theft is then precisely in its key system, true technological gem with a “mind” capable of processing increasingly complex algorithms to prevent the undesired ignition of our cars.
Keyline, a leader in digital technology, has been a central player in innovations for electronic heads creating solutions for the cloning of almost all Texas and Philips Crypto transponders, filing a patent for the latter in 2009. A work of excellence by the research and development office that has defined a number of important steps from which future scenarios are already being envisaged.