Kentucky Patent of the Month – April 2022

Remote access for your vehicle has grown in popularity in past years. Most newer vehicles have some form of keyless entry as a standard feature. In addition to keyless entry, car keys themselves have grown in technology. Most modern keys have a transponder chip added in to allow communication between the key and care. This security protocol ensures nobody can take your car by simply cutting another key. In these cases a duplicate key must also have the transponder in order to start the car. While security is improved, this also means that duplicating a key or accessing a vehicle has become more difficult. 

The average person relies on a dealership to create and pair a new key. Dealerships do this by connecting known, unpaired keys to the vehicle through the On-Board Diagnostics (OBD) port. Unfortunately, dealerships may not honor this for older makes and models or for vehicles which have been adapted to have remote keyless entry. 

iKeyless, LLC has developed a dongle capable of connecting to the OBD port and pairing an unpaired key to any capable vehicle without the need of a dealership. This provides an inexpensive, reliable, and secure option. Their device can also be customized to limit the number of keys which can be paired to a single vehicle, reducing the likelihood of a thief making their own copy. 

This system uses a dongle connected directly to a vehicle’s OBD port. In order to function for a wide range of vehicle makes and models, the dongle has two methods to determine a communication mode. Once connected to the OBD port, the dongle first tries to automatically determine the bus type for the communications protocol. If unable to determine this protocol, the dongle queries the vehicle computer to determine the appropriate protocol .

The user stores a VIN in the dongle before pairing. Once connected to the OBD port, the dongle verifies that the VIN stored in the vehicle computer matches the VIN input by the user. As long as they match, key pairing continues. The dongle then connects the unpaired key to the vehicle creating a link and authenticating the connection. This simple solution provides security and ensures you can replace your key with ease.

Are you developing new technology for an existing application? Did you know your development work could be eligible for the R&D Tax Credit and you can receive up to 14% back on your expenses? Even if your development isn’t successful your work may still qualify for R&D credits (i.e. you don’t need to have a patent to qualify). To find out more, please contact a Swanson Reed R&D Specialist today or check out our free online eligibility test.

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