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Keyless start with a wristwatch?

Chinese automaker BYD will offer watches instead of key fobs.

By Clifford Atiyeh Oct 25, 2012 5:49AM
Chinese automaker BYD wants to make wristwatch "key fobs" capable of locking and starting its cars.

So far, only Aston Martin has had a similar feature, when it offered DBS buyers a $38,000 Swiss watch to lock and unlock the doors. However, the Aston's custom Jaeger-LeCoultre could not start the engine.

According to China Car Times, BYD -- in which billionaire investor Warren Buffett owns a 10 percent stake through his company, Berkshire Hathaway -- wants to market a series of company-branded "watch keys." The company says it has patented a manufacturing process for the watch that coats plastic parts with metal, which apparently reduces interference from the device's electronics and can boost its signal.

We're not sure why BYD bothered to patent anything. Two of the company's models, the F3 and S8, are explicit copyright infringements: The F3 rips off the entire last-generation Toyota Corolla, while the S8 apes the front end of the old Mercedes CLK.

The watches would function as key fobs do with push-button ignitions, so drivers couldn't start the car from their wrists. However, the company offers a remote control on the Su Rui, a copycat of the current-generation Corolla, that which turns the car into a giant hand-held toy.

"It is a perfect solution when the parking space is not wide enough for the driver to exit the car once parked," BYD says. However, hovering jet packs that would let the driver stack his car onto nearby vans are not yet ready for sale. With the company's trick watches -- and a name that's short for "Build Your Dreams" -- who are we to rule that out?

[Source: China Car Times]
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