Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Rise and Fall of the Ignition Key

Most of us grew up with the knowledge that a car can only be started with the Ignition Key. While there wasn't really a standard place to position they key most people were easily able to find the key lock. In a Porsche it's on the left of the steering column, in a Saab in the center console and in most cars on the right side of the steering column (in a left hand driven car). Racing cars usually didn't need an ignition key to start the engine, a simple switch to turn on the ignition and a button to activate the starter motor were enough. Vintage cars (especially pre war) also usually didn't have ignition keys, they worked similar than modern race cars in that sense. And today? More and more cars are equipped with systems where you can have the "key" in your pocket and press a button again to start and stop the engine - it's called "keyless go" and marketed as a great invention. Of course today's systems are very sophisticated. The "key" or "batch" you have in your pocket identifies you as the owner/driver of the car, tells the car whether you like the aircondition on and controls the position of mirrors and seat adjustment. And if you try to lock the car, but have left the key/batch in the car, the system warns you with some nasty sounds.
Well, I really wonder, whether all of these inventiions are really valuable for the driver. I never had a real issue with putting the key and turning it. And it was way more predictable and logical than the today's systems.

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