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Electrical Engineering/Car Door Electronic Swipe Card.


QUESTION: Dear Prof Cleggsan

Can it increase more security to the automobile by adding a electronic swipe card in the front door of the car similar to a ATM Card in a ATM Machine that unless and until the Pin Number - Password is not entered properly, the Car Door will not get opened.

The Electronic Swipe Card will be provided by the Car Manufacturer for every customer.

Electronic Display unit - Battery operated will be fixed on the Car Front Door along with the push buttons for entering the password code. The Electronic card
will be swiped by the Driver. If and only if the Password code is entered properly, then The Front Car Door will open.

Do you feel Car Thefts can be avoided by implementing Electronic Panel Display Unit ?.

Thanks & Regards,
Prashant S Akerkar

ANSWER: No, I do not think the card swiper idea has merit.  Why?

ONE:  Because there are too many hacker tools that can open the door.  The hotel industry has become concerned because hotel rooms are being entered by thieves using a simple hacker tool.

While the above is a story about hotel room swiping keycards the same applies to one used for opening car doors.

TWO:  The event that happens when the car owner or driver loses the card is too overwhelming to consider. The driver does not want to have the car towed away or long wait for recoding the door locking system, etc.  If the alternate is to use the metal key or fingerprint then it obviates the strength of the card reader system.

THREE:  For alternate uses of the automobile such as loaning for temporary drive by friend or associate, sales of vehicle to another owner, public parking systems that require key for storing the vehicle, etc....

FOUR:  The card swipe lockout system would still not prevent those thieves who use tools to unlock or smash out windows to access the vehicle. Once in the ignition wires can be altered to start the engine.  The lock on the steering wheel is a good solution for this and is now used on nearly every automobile made throughout the world.  But, this still does not prevent theft of the autos contents.

I like your idea but the cost of implementation and lack of total prevention plus the inconvenience when alternate users are operating the auto are big obstacles.

Suggest you come up with brighter idea.

PS: Every car show focuses on new and better anti-theft and break-in measures the manufacturer has promoted but few of them actually make it into reality.  Fingerprint readers, voice readers and similar ideas have been tried but are not universally appreciated by the industry yet.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Dear Prof Cleggsan

Thank you.

The password will be strong 8-14 digit, alphanumeric, special keys combination.

The same can be extended for starting the car. i.e. Inside the car. A Electronic panel with Swipe card. Unless and Until password is not inserted properly by the Driver after swapping the card, even if one tries to start the car keys, the car will not start.

This can be extended to Buses, Lorries, Tempos, Trucks i.e. Heavy Vehicles.

This will increase security against car thefts ?.

I Feel security will be enhanced on the Automobile against thefts.

1. One while opening the car door, a strong password has to be entered.
2. One while starting the car, a strong password has to be entered.

Also Two different electronic swipe cards are required, one for opening the car door and other for starting the car.

Thanks & Regards,
Prashant S Akerkar

I don't like your idea for reasons stated previously.

ONE:  Hackers can bypass the coding system and hack right into the cars software core; thus rendering the card useless.  

TWO:  Loss or accidental mutilation of the card is a great inconvenience to the driver and to the car service center.

THREE:  The cards are an inconvenience - especially if there are two cards or keys to enter the vehicle then to start the engine.  An electronic system must have a backup such as a metal key system or fingerprint solution or something that allows an alternate way of operating the vehicle.  Each time an alternate entry system is added the security risk gets worse.

FOUR:  The cost of card readers is not insignificant.  It may be priced out of existence before it gets started - as a business.

Some of the greatest minds have struggled with the security issue for automobiles and no single system aside from the original schema of the metal key has become widely used.

I wish you well but I do not like your swipe card solution.  

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