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Smart Key Development: Walk Away Locking - Convenience Versus Security

  • Published:
  • SBD

Walk Away Locking (WAL) as a function of smart key systems, is currently the pinnacle of convenience for passenger cars. In an exclusive report, SBD reveal that over 75% of European customers interviewed wanted their smart key system to use WAL and approximately 20% of European smart key systems (or around 2% of all new vehicles sold) are equipped with WAL. This extensive report explains the working of WAL and includes consumer feedback and concerns. The features and functioning of WAL systems of leading European vehicle manufacturers are compared to show the different approaches.

Since WAL is a passive feature and the vehicle doors do not passively double lock, some insurers could penalise the vehicles insurance rating. This report proposes an innovative solution, that combines the WAL and existing sensors within the vehicle, for the safe implementation of passive double locking that would also satisfy insurance criteria.

This report will help you:

  • Refine your European WAL strategy and increase market share by gaining insights into consumer expectations and feedback
  • Develop a winning product by comparing the features and functions of the WALs of Cadillac, Mercedes and Renault
  • Be prepared for and satisfy insurance criteria by understanding why passive double locking is a hurdle in WAL
  • Identify and implement an intelligent WAL that uses existing infrastructure for maximum security, safety and convenience

This report answers the following key questions:

  • Is WAL a desirable feature and is it inherently insecure because of rules that prevent passive double locking?
  • Which leading vehicle manufacturers offer WAL and how have they implemented it?
  • What other considerations are there in developing a WAL?
  • What are the solutions to security and usability issues of WAL?

About the Report Author

David Green - Vehicle Security Technical Specialist.

David graduated from Cardiff University with an honours degree in Mechanical Engineering. He has worked on many projects focused on vehicle security and cost of ownership, and is currently responsible for managing the UK insurance group rating process for one of SBD's major clients. He is also responsible for monitoring all the latest news developments in vehicle security and insurance requirements across the globe. David specialises in Smart Key technology and has authored several SBD studies on the subject.


** Due to the confidential nature of the report content, your request to purchase SBD's security reports will be vetted by SBD's security team, prior to any sale agreement. **

Table of Contents

1. Executive summary

  • 1.1. Conclusions
  • 1.2. Report overview

2. Introduction

  • 2.1. Vehicle Locking
  • 2.2. Vehicle Unlocking

3. System Analysis

  • 3.1. Cadillac
  • 3.2. Mercedes - Benz
  • 3.3. Renault

4. Design Challenges

  • 4.1. Double Locking
  • 4.2. User Confidence
  • 4.3. Battery Management


  • Fig. 1: Development of Locking Methods
  • Fig. 2: WAL Feature Comparison
  • Fig. 3: WAL Functionality Flowchart - Cadillac
  • Fig. 4: WAL Functionality Flowchart - Mercedes-Benz
  • Fig. 5: WAL Functionality Flowchart - Renault
  • Fig. 6: SBD Solution Flowchart
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