Smart keys and all-around vision

  • 15-Oct-2008 10:00 EDT
Smart Car Key.jpg

Valeo’s smart key permits communication with a vehicle over a distance of 200 m (660 ft). The system can check functions, adjust settings, or transfer data.

Valeo displayed a range of new and revised technologies at the Paris ­Motor Show including a smart key and a vehicle all-round vision system.

The prototype smart key can communicate with a vehicle from as far away as 200 m (660 ft). For European use, Valeo has designed the key to operate on a frequency of 868 MHz. The device is equipped with a screen measuring 27 x 20 mm (1.1 x 0.8 in) available in both monochrome and color. The screen appearance can be adjusted, as can the key functions.

The key would allow users to check if the vehicle has been locked and the doors and trunk have been closed, to monitor tire pressures or fuel level, and to adjust seat positioning, for instance. Faults can be displayed, while functions such as the ventilation system could be activated before entering the vehicle. Feedback from the vehicle is indicated by a light or audible warning.

The smart key could also act as a data storage system since it has 1 GB of memory, which can be expanded to 4 GB with the built-in micro SD card. For instance, navigation addresses could be transferred to the car’s navigation system or data could be exchanged between two keys to synchronize their settings.

Valeo announced that it would equip the Mitsubishi Racing Lancer for the 2009 Dakar Rally with its Ultimate Cooling system. The system uses a single coolant fluid to handle all heat-exchanger systems. For the Racing Lancer, the system includes a hot and cold loop. The hot loop deals with engine and oil cooling, as well as heating the vehicle interior. The cold loop feeds the charge air cooler, fuel cooler, and air-conditioning condenser. An electric pump circulates the coolant as required. The company claims fuel consumption reductions of up to 5%.

Volvo is the first car manufacturer to adopt Valeo’s MicroOptics lighting technology. Fitted to the XC60, the new optical surface spreads light uniformly. The technology can spread light from just a few LEDs across a large area, such as for a vehicle’s rear lights. The system gives car designers the opportunity to produce a different appearance during the day and night and can be applied to external or internal lighting.

Valeo recently launched a multiple camera system to provide vision all around a vehicle. Named 360Vue, the cameras can be linked to ultrasonic sensors. The system can detect obstacles and measure the distances from them. As a result, safety could be improved when maneuvering in poor visibility or crossing intersections with restricted visibility.

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