Ford’s new keyless entry system secure and savvy – Metro US

Ford’s new keyless entry system secure and savvy

In 1980, Ford introduced a new convenience feature on its luxury cars: a keypad that, when tapped with a unique code, would unlock the doors.

The company still offers the feature, called the SecuriCode Keyless Entry Keypad, but it’s gone high-tech on Lincoln MKS and MKT. The numbers are no longer on door-mounted buttons, but hidden on the glossy B-pillar, lighting up when the pillar is touched.

“It’s a capacitive sensor,” says Lisa Boran, Remote Keyless Entry technical expert at Ford. “It detects that you’re coming close to the switch. You have to touch it, because you want to make sure that you’re touching a specific number button, but it starts detecting when you’re getting close to it.”

The keypad uses the same technology as an iPhone — one company supplies the processors for both. The touch-sensitive electronics are mounted behind an acrylic cover; the graphic panel is the same black shade as the B-pillar, making it nearly invisible when the numbers are unlit.

Since it takes a lot of abuse, the Lincoln panel was tested extensively, including extreme weather and temperature, moisture, vibration, salt spray, and various products ranging from window cleaner and car wax, to hand cream and suntan lotion.

“We wanted a smooth, sleek-looking keypad for the vehicle,” Boran says.

Many luxury vehicles offer proximity keys, which allow the driver to unlock the car by walking toward it, or touching a door handle, providing he has the key fob with him. The SecuriCode will work this way, unlocking the vehicle when the driver taps the B-pillar. But it can also be opened by anyone who knows the code, without the key being nearby, once they tap in the specific five-digit code by pressing each appropriate lit number on the keypad.

Given that keyless entry is almost universal, a redundant keypad system may seem outdated, but Ford’s customers are extremely loyal to it.

“Believe it or not, people love this technology,” Boran says.

“We tried to remove it a couple of times, and there was a huge falling out from customers. It’s highly desirable, even though there are other ways of getting into the vehicle.”

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