Sometimes, technology advances in a linear fashion and sometimes it winds its way or even cycles forward.
In the initial era of factory keyless entry remote technology — after automakers developed automatic door locks — you had a key and a keyfob. The keyfob served the purpose of replacing the key for purposes of locking/unlocking doors and releasing the trunk.
For some reason, automotive engineers then decided consumers did not really want a keyfob to carry around. They thought it would be more convenient to have the keyfob built into the key and, voila, the keyhead remote was born. Unfortunately, the automotive engineers got this “improvement” wrong because the resulting part was so big no one wanted to carry it around. GM and Ford, you might want to check your consumer research on this one because you seem to be moving headlong in the direction that the more consumer-minded automakers have just abandoned.
So, to correct their error and make the size of the keyhead remote more manageable, the wizards came up with switchblade remotes. Definitely an improvement, sizewise, and kind of sexy to boot. Unfortunately, many of the cases did not stand up well to being torqued when the key was turned in the ignition.
Now, finally recognizing that the old mechanical key is and has been the obsolete component all along, the automotive world is gravitating to proximity remotes for security and lock release functions and push-button start for ignition. No key at all, except for that little “emergency” key blade, which most people will only need when they lose their remote. Oops, that little key blade is in the remote! In any event, thirty years after the advent of “factory keyless entry”, the automotive world is becoming truly keyless.
I imagine folks at the automotive key manufacturing companies are wondering what they will be doing in, say, five years. The answer is that they will be making keys for old vehicles and slowly watching their business disappear.
And, oh, by the way, non-automotive door locks are sure to go the same way. If keys are obsolete for vehicles, why should door locks not be close behind? Star Trek had voice-activated, motion-activated and push-button electronic door locks fifty years ago. I am ready to have one too.