Access Systems for Security and Convenience

The increase in vehicle theft is one of the main reasons for the development of improved vehicle access control systems. We have taken on the challenges of the market to develop enhanced security measures against theft of next-generation vehicles and, at the same time, to provide legitimate users with easy access to their cars.

A short history overview in the development of access systems

Mechanical Keys

  • Since 1940s
Since 1940s
Since 1980s
Mid 1990s
Late 1990s
Since 2000

Virtual Keys

  • Since 2015
Since 2015
Access Systems Overview

Remote Key Entry (RKE) System

The remote locking system (RKE – Remote Keyless Entry) represents our standard solution for convenient locking and unlocking of vehicle doors and the trunk by remote control. The theft protection and the immobilizer features can also be switched on or off in this way. Vehicle keys and identifiers offer maximum security and maximum comfort for all vehicle classes. They also enable other functions, such as additional comfort functions when opening and closing windows, sunroofs, sliding doors, and tailgates.

In addition to the vehicle key, the system consists of a control unit with an integrated or external RF radio receiver. The access function can also be integrated into a central body control unit.

An optionally available bidirectional communication link between the vehicle and the key allows for additional functionality, for example, the signaling of a successful locking procedure utilizing visual confirmation via an LED built into the key.

Passive Access System

Passive access systems (PASE, Passive Start Entry) are an extension of the classic radio remote control (RKE) and allow vehicle access and starting the engine without having to take the key in hand. The key stays in your handbag or jacket pocket. For the driver, this means the best possible operability and maximum comfort. With the help of LF radio signals, the access system can locate the PASE key in and around the vehicle. When approaching the car, systems can be started, driver-specific settings set, and the vehicle doors and trunk can be unlocked entirely automatically. If the key is recognized inside the vehicle, the vehicle can be started using the start-stop button.

Compared to the RKE system, the system is extended by LF antennas and a start-stop button.
Continental’s PASE system has been continuously developed since its introduction in 1998 and offers comfort functions such as Welcome Light, Approach Unlock, or Walk-Away Locking.

Adding a fashionable extension to our system, PASE technology can also be integrated into wearables, which can then be used as an additional vehicle key.

For even more convenience, the access system can be combined with our Smart Autonomous Door technology and our boot lid control unit (Power Liftgate ECU).

Smart Access System (CoSmA) - Classic

Vehicle access via smartphone and tablet. Thanks to modern networking, our access solutions do not need any classic keys. The system offers a completely new user experience and meets the needs of a future mobile society. The virtual key is from the backend of the OEM or the respective service provider, e.g. B. in corporate fleet and car sharing solutions, transferred to the driver’s smartphone.

Further communication between the vehicle and the mobile device takes place via Bluetooth and NFC. As soon as an authorized virtual key is detected, the system issues permission to open the vehicle and start the engine.

The PASE access system is supplemented by NFC reader and Bluetooth functionality. The use of a Multi Function Smartphone Terminal (MFST) establishes the connection with the smartphone and allows the smartphone to be charged in addition to other functions. In addition, the connection to backend services via a Telematics Control Unit is required.

Smart Access System (CoSmA) - Ultra Wideband

Safe and convenient: Ultra Wideband Technology for keyless vehicle access

Continental is working with various partners to integrate ultra wideband (UWB) technology into future vehicles. The aim is to make the keyless operation of vehicles safer and more comfortable. With the integration of UWB in smartphones, this technology enables new functions such as safe passive (“hands-free”) vehicle access or the option to park the vehicle remotely from a smartphone. In addition, UWB makes keyless vehicle access more secure by preventing unauthorized access through relay attacks (man-in-the-middle).

In the future, the UWB technology will replace the previous short-range radio standards and allow a system that works entirely without the classic Key FOB.


Daniel Jaedicke

Business Development – Interior Electronic Functions