Why do we need keys ... Let's make an app that works on an ad-hoc network and can control our basic functions replacing our key.... And bdw how does key helps in getting car started
All you have really done is changed the form-factor of the key (from a physical device to a virtual connection with an app).
this has several implications:
- Virtual keys are easily duplicated, Hardware keys are a lot harder to duplicate.
- Ad hoc networks are notoriously unsafe and would pollute the airwaves with unnecessary WI-fi signals if all cars would use this, to the point that WI-Fi simply breaks.
- in case of catastrophic failure (on the car part), a physical key can still 'work' while a virtual key simply breaks.
- A virtual key is much harder to (safely and securely) share with another. a physical key is easily passed on.
As to what function does the physical key fulfill,
a physical key is just a means to identify that the 'driver' is in fact someone authorized to use the car. It holds some simple technology to make sure that only the rightful keys can be used, a problem that would entail many hours of programming to make work in another way.
Remember, 'A Simple solution that fulfills all technical requirements is often the cheapest and the best to use.'
- If you have complete electrical failure in your car (as can happen from time to time) then remote-controlled locks don't work. You will always need a physical key at least as a backup option.
- Also apps just aren't as fast to use as a dedicated remote control, or even a physical key.
That being said, having a smartphone app is certainly a possible option for convenience if it were fully automated. (i.e. you don't have to pull the phone out of your pocket)
It certainly is possible to create an smartphone app to unlock a car and if you check features on current new cars I'm sure you'll find some where this is an option. Off hand I recall seeing some Kia commercials advertising this ability.
As others have already pointed out a physical key is still a very good idea as a backup option if nothing else and every smart key system I've seen has this. I've had my car stuck at a gas station because the alarm went crazy from a dying battery it certainly wasn't any fun to be locked out of using my car from that.
From a security perspective I think the physical vs virtual key is an interesting discussion. Theoretically a virtual key can be much more secure than your typical physical key by using cryptology to ensure the actual key is never actually exposed and is extremely difficult to copy. This is certainly harder in an app based system than with a dedicated key fob but is still at least theoretically possible. The downside of a virtual key is the scalability of an attack. If you can find a weakness in a virtual key system you can exploit it many many times. Often not just for that particular model of car but for all models from that manufacturer or family of manufacturers or even multiple families as they often share component suppliers. That makes them very appealing targets.
Just saw this news article tonight and thought it was relevant to this discussion.