Print 28 comment(s) - last by iNGEN.. on Dec 7 at 12:31 PM

GM's new key fob will be apart of a $150 option package

2007 Cadillac Escalade
GM's $150 option two-way key fob will makes it debut in spring 2007

Technology creep is steadily taking over automobiles. We now have everything ranging from iPod integration to satellite navigation to self-steering and automated parking systems to adaptive cruise control. GM is now looking to give the lowly key fob a makeover worthy of today's technology-craved society.

The remote control key fob not only has your standard features like lock/unlock and panic buttons, but it can also monitor tire pressure at each wheel, display the odometer and fuel levels and even check the status of the door locks. Information is displayed on an LCD screen that shows a mini-diagram of key vehicle components. From USA Today:

The feature builds on GM's expertise as the first automaker to introduce remote start, which made its debut in the 2004 Chevrolet Malibu and now is available from other automakers and as an add-on accessory.GM says it will be first to offer remote two-way communication with the vehicle using a liquid-crystal display on the fob. The fob will operate at four to six times the range of competitors' keyless entry systems, GM says.

The key fob, which will be a $150 option on GM SUVs, crossovers and pickups in spring of next year, is quite durable and can survive being submersed in water as well as being dropped onto hard surfaces.

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Cool little gadget
By killerroach on 11/15/2006 1:29:29 PM , Rating: 3
"I may not be James Bond, but at least now I can have his key fob!" is the first thing that comes to mind here. In all reality, though, the tire pressure sensor (check the spelling in the title, guys... looks rather bad), if it works well, could be worth its weight in gold, especially for SUVs, as under-inflated tires put you at a greater risk for blowouts a la what happened with Firestone tires on Ford Explorers a couple years back. Tire pressure is something I don't often think to check, even though well-inflated tires can help keep your fuel economy optimal. So, from that perspective, this is great stuff.

RE: Cool little gadget
By Brandon Hill on 11/15/2006 1:31:55 PM , Rating: 2
Most new cars already have tire pressure monitoring systems installed and I think that it will be government mandated by 2008 IIRC.

I know on my car, there is a icon in the dashboard cluster that will illuminate along with a sounder that will go off if the tire pressure is too low at any corner.

RE: Cool little gadget
By theapparition on 11/15/2006 3:30:32 PM , Rating: 2
While the tire pressure monitoring capability is admittidly a little gimicky....I'd definately pay more than $150 to be able to see whether my car was locked or not, without having to run back through a parking lot to get in range. Everything else they throw in is gravy as far as I'm concerned.

RE: Cool little gadget
By Souka on 11/15/2006 5:04:07 PM , Rating: 2
My ford explorer makes a very substatial "clunk" when I hit the lock can be heard 20+ft. If I hit lock again, the horn beeps.

My Subaru's alarm goes "clack clack" when I hit the lock button.

My Acura MDX goes "beep" when I hit the lock button.

My old college VW would beep the horn when I locked it.

so I'm not sure what car you're used to, but in my recent experience cars tend to let you know they're locked or not.

To pay $150 seems a waste to me. Tire pressure is a gimmick as if your car can report the pressure on the FOB, then it surely can tell you the value on the dash or console.

RE: Cool little gadget
By Slaimus on 11/15/2006 5:15:15 PM , Rating: 2
My Chevy Malibu has a delayed lock, when you press a button before exiting the car, and after all doors are closed for about 10 seconds, then it locks.

RE: Cool little gadget
By theapparition on 11/16/2006 8:38:05 AM , Rating: 2
My ford explorer makes a very substatial "clunk" when I hit the lock can be heard 20+ft.

And your proud of that?

I think I should clarify my original post. For every car I own, when consciencely locking the doors, I know they are locked. What I'm concerned with is sub-consciencely forgetting.

For example, my new 'vette has no key, only a fob. I walk up to it, it unlocks. I get in, push a button to start. I walk away, it automatically locks. Since I'm getting used to this, I'm finding that I forget to do this on my other cars. I've wondered whether I've locked the doors on either my TransAm, Firehawk, or Trailblazer, since they don't have that feature. We are creatures of habit. Strange thing is most time I DO lock the doors, just forget that I did. A quick look at the fob shows me whether I did or not. Now if it could also let me know if I left the garage door open I'd be money.........

While I'm not one of those whiny "It's too hard to set the clock on my VCR" people, I do appreciate technology that adds conveinence to my life. When the VCR clock was blinking "12:00", I set it without complaint. But now, almost no device has to be set. With the daylight savings time rollback a few weeks ago, I sat amazed that the only two clocks that had to be set were the clock on the microwave and an antique grandfather clock. Gimiky, maybe.....but it is convienent.

I expect this fob from GM to be the same. I am practical and do not embrace technology just for technology's sake. but I can see the value in this. Personally, I thought it was the stupidist thing for Volkswagen to open the windows in the car by turning the key the wrong way. I can't understand the use for this at all, but I do not deride them for making it available. Maybe there is a great use, and until I use it will never see the benefit.

I also don't understand why people think their ipod is sexy looking. Just because I don't understand something, doesn't mean that it's a bad idea. We'll see how popular this thing will be in the future when every car manufacturer starts offering it.

RE: Cool little gadget
By Crassus on 11/16/2006 1:12:44 PM , Rating: 2
Personally, I thought it was the stupidist thing for Volkswagen to open the windows in the car by turning the key the wrong way. I can't understand the use for this at all,

Let your car sit in the sun in summer for a while, with the air inside being hot way beyond 120F, and you see what this feature is good for. Not to mention holding it the other way, closing all windows and the sunroof in one go.

RE: Cool little gadget
By Samus on 11/16/2006 2:47:41 AM , Rating: 2
correct, tire pressures are required by 2008

With the many designs and implementations of them, they're very inexpensive too. i upgraded my mustang with the 'belt' style that wrap around the inner rim inside the tire kind of like an innertube for less than $200 (4 belts, plus dash receiver) and the entire system is wireless and the transmitters run on batteries (2xCR2032) with a life expectancy of 60,000 miles, way longer than the tires will last. when changing the tires, you change the batteries for 5 bucks (CR2032's are super cheap in bulk, look on eBay)

great system, great technology. the valve stem models are magnetically energized and don't even need power, but must come built onto the car. it'd be nearly impossible to upgrade to valve stem sensors without a lot of custom wiring.

RE: Cool little gadget
By MrSmurf on 11/15/2006 2:04:08 PM , Rating: 1
I fail to see how it's great stuff. It does nothing outside of give the driver details about their dashboard display outside of their car. Seems more like another GM gimmick to boast sales.

RE: Cool little gadget
By iNGEN on 11/15/2006 5:06:48 PM , Rating: 2
I'm with MrSmurf on this one. Other than the "Hmm, did I remember to lock the door?" timesaver, I don't see why I would want all info on a device that already takes up way to much space/weight in my pocket.

Standardize a module providing this functionality that slips into my PDA that can also remind me to change my oil, buy windshield wiper fluid cause it's low, or alert me my car was just involved in an accident, and I might go for it.

RE: Cool little gadget
By jmn2519 on 11/15/2006 5:55:21 PM , Rating: 2
OR give me a button that will remotely start the car instead of making me go with some crappy after market solution.

That would be the only thing I'd want.

RE: Cool little gadget
By iNGEN on 12/7/2006 12:31:23 PM , Rating: 2

My ignition is all electronic anyway! My key doesn't mechanically complete a circuit like it did in previous cars I'e owned.

Then again, what happens when my PDA gets a virus? Does my car "not want to get out of bed in the morning"?

RE: Cool little gadget
By sxr7171 on 11/15/2006 3:40:43 PM , Rating: 2
James Bond's key fob? Ha Ha. He wouldn't be caught dead with something that ugly.

By vandy0419 on 11/15/2006 1:46:45 PM , Rating: 2
I know on my car, there is a icon in the dashboard cluster that will illuminate along with a sounder that will go off if the tire pressure is too low at any corner.

I don't see how monitoring systems in your current car's dash has ANYTHING to do with the matter that this GM available option will allow the car's computer to send the information about tire pressure and all the other afore mentioned parameters in the article to the key fob. That is like comparing the ability over a decade ago to hook up a portable CD player into a tape deck when CD players were just becoming available in car audio. They are just expanding on the non-monitary values of the cars.

I think this device will be greatly useful and hopefully will allow GM to improve their current status in the US market. Especially for such a cheap option, probably as useful as the autostart available on lots of GM cars.

RE: Nice
By Brandon Hill on 11/15/2006 1:52:15 PM , Rating: 2
I was not responding to the article, I was responding to the person talking about tire pressure and the whole Explorer/Firestone debacle.

The Ford "Exploder" controversy was one of the reasons why cars now have tire pressure monitoring systems installed b/c people are too lazy to check the pressue themselves on a regular basis.

That being said, having it installed on the key fob or on the dash doesn't really make one bit of difference. You would still be notified (in either case) of an underinflated tire before even putting the vehicle in gear/drive.

RE: Nice
By TomZ on 11/15/2006 2:02:21 PM , Rating: 2
People shouldn't have to worry every day about their tire pressure being a little low, and that causing the vehicle to become unstable and dangerous. After all, you don't have that same situation with most other vehicles on the road today.

I would also guess that 90% of people would not be aware of one of their tires being a bit underinflated - it is not an issue of laziness - but of awareness. Therefore, tire monitoring equipment is appropriate and prudent for models that have a high risk of stability problems when their tire pressure is low.

Having it on the key fob may be marginally helpful if you are outside the vehicle, have the vehicle off, and are planning to add some air to the low tire(s).

RE: Nice
By Brandon Hill on 11/15/2006 2:10:13 PM , Rating: 2
90% aren't aware b/c 90% of them don't even bother to check ;)

I think the standard convention is to at least check tire pressure every two weeks (once a month at the least). And IIRC, TPMSs don't "trigger" unless the pressure is down by a sizeable amount.

For example, someone who checks their tire pressure every couple of weeks would notice if 3 tires are at 35 PSI and one is at 30-31 PSI and reinflate. A TMPS would only trigger when the tire has lost 25% of its rated inflation.

RE: Nice
By Brandon Hill on 11/15/2006 2:13:31 PM , Rating: 3
that's just what I need
By Quiksel on 11/15/2006 1:30:28 PM , Rating: 2
I like the concept. I do.

But dang, that thing's BIG. I guess it matches the humongous SUV's that are so prevalent in American autos. I don't need it to fit my hand as much as it to fit in my pocket.

RE: that's just what I need
By TomZ on 11/15/2006 2:07:11 PM , Rating: 2
To me, it looks only slightly larger than a standard key fob, from what I can tell from the photo. Considering the display and the two-way RF capability, I think the size is reasonable.

RE: that's just what I need
By marvdmartian on 11/15/2006 2:41:05 PM , Rating: 2
Don't know about that. Guess it depends on how large the buttons are on it, which really can't be determined by the picture (would have been nice to have a pic of it in someone's hand).

To me, that pic makes it look to be about the size of one of those FM walkie-talkies!!

WOOT Wife Proof
By othercents on 11/15/2006 2:18:14 PM , Rating: 5
This is a nice tool to keep my wife in line. She never checks the tires or anything, so instead of going out every month and checking her car I can just pickup the Fob and check everything from the comfort of my lazy-boy. Hopefully they add in fluid levels to the fob that way I wouldn't even have to check that.


By jeffbui on 11/15/2006 5:11:31 PM , Rating: 4
It'd be useful if it alerted you to someone slashing your tires or breaking into your car, which it probably does, making it better than any other system available from a manufacturer.

Missing the big picture
By bowtie26 on 11/15/2006 8:28:42 PM , Rating: 2
No one has mentioned the benefits of a 2 way FOB. There have been many times when I have to get things out of the trunk and them I am some distance from the car wondering if remembered to lock it. Then I hit the lock button and have no idea if I am within FOB range. Or with the remote start feature you hit the start button from inside a store or friend’s house and don't know if it received the command. The extra range and this type of confirmation is worth $150.

RE: Missing the big picture
By Goty on 11/15/2006 11:59:11 PM , Rating: 2
It's not an entirely new idea. A lot of third party manufacturers have been doing this for quite some time. I do agree with you, however, the features are great.

Totally useless
By exdeath on 11/15/2006 5:23:17 PM , Rating: 2
Just another gadgety bling bling toy with flashing blinking LEDs and LCDs to wave around or otherwise have on prominent display *rolls eyes*

All the info I care about is only useful inside the car with the car running.

RPM, boost pressure, fuel pressure, air/fuel ratio, and temperature.

Stuff like this and talking tire pressure gauges are for the sub 100 IQ yuppies that have short attention spans and are easily amused by anything that ‘talks’ to them. See also: AOL user.

Battery Life
By Goty on 11/15/2006 11:57:32 PM , Rating: 2
It's going to cost a fortune to replace the batteries in this thing if they don't allow the consumer to do it. I have a keyfob from Clifford with an LCD on it for my alarm and the battery dies every couple of months or so as opposed to a regular keyfob only needing a new battery every few years.

One thing left out
By peldor on 11/16/2006 9:27:51 AM , Rating: 2
I bet GM doesn't use the fob to remind you of your gas mileage (or yardage as the case may be).

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