Key fobs usually aren't the type of things we'd get excited about unless they're from Tesla Motors.
Tesla already has quite a bit technology packed into their vehicles, and their key fob may just be getting a matching upgrade, too. Molded into the shape of an actual Tesla vehicle, the company's current key fob is already quite multifunctional.
Some of the key fob's nifty tricks include pressing its top to lock the car while a double-press unlocks the car, a press on the trunk of the key fob opens and closes the actual trunk, and pressing and holding on the trunk of the key fob opens the charge port hatch. The only thing it doesn't do is tell the owner where it is when it's been lost.
A future version of the key fob may do just that with the FCC's recent approval of Tesla's request to patent a new key fob that'll support Bluetooth Low Energy. The existing key fob for Tesla's vehicles runs at 315Mhz and allows it to do what it currently does with a Model S or Model X. An upgrade to support BLE will allow the key fob even more functionality.
A "find my keys" function could be an example of what Tesla may have in mind for future iterations of their key fobs. Support for BLE potentially also allows a driver's key fob to communicate with the car either via a smartphone app or an additional display on the key fob itself.
Using BLE technology to find things isn't a breakthrough concept. Products like Tile make use of BLE as a finder beacon already, and simply adding one to a key chain offers the same results. What is bleeding edge in key fob technology, however, is BMW's "smart" key fob for its flagship 7 Series. The German automaker's nifty piece of tech includes a touchscreen display that can also be used to park and pull out of parking spots from outside the car.
Who knows, Tesla Motors may follow suit and incorporate similar technology into its next key fob for the upcoming Model 3 which is expected to launch in March of next year.
Photo: Steve Jurvetson | Flickr