We have a car where, if the engine is running and the door is locked, if you are outside with the fob it will not unlock the door.
So ... the key is locked in the car and the fob to unlock the car to let you get t the key - will not work.
Designed by monkeys, indeed.
Maybe I'm the only one who feels this way, but what about ditching these fobs altogether? If you've got a couple cars that have them, and anything more than a few keys, your keychain starts getting pretty unruly for putting in a hip pocket anymore. If you're dying for remote control of your car, you probably have a smart phone, and it seems like if you want a bunch of advanced remote control features, operation through a linked smart phone is a much sexier way to go anyway, and entirely possible these days.
I guess I'm just old and stodgy, but I can find my own car when I park at the airport, and I don't need a remote control to open or lock my doors- my key works fine and it's as quick as anything else. My remote key fob has sat unused, in a bowl of change on my dresser, for years. One thing I DO like is the numeric keypad on the driver's door. This is the best feature Ford has, and possibly enough for me to keep buying Fords as long as they have this. With this keypad, I can unlock one or all the doors, open my tailgate glass, and with one simultaneous press of two buttons, lock all the doors at once after I've exited the vehicle. How much more do you really need? This feature lets me lock the keys in the car on purpose when going places (boat, beach, etc.) where it makes more sense not to bring keys along, which you can't do with a fob and big wad of keys. Forget the fob, it's an anchor! Who's with me?
If I had been given this design task I would include a capacitance sensor placed such that it can only be activated when the fob is being held in it's "in use" position. Even if you put your hand in your pocket (or purse) and activate the sensor you still have to press a button. I've used these sensors all over the place where the user is not aware that it is being activated. These sensors are available as individual IC or in some cases can be rolled right into the code of the microcontroller.
Yup, me too. After the second inadvertant triggering of that useless panic alarm, I popped open the key fob for my Suburban and cut track. Blood curdling screams are much better than some stupid beeping of a horn and flashing of lights. NOBODY pays any attention to them because of the little boy who cried wolf.
My 2000 Cherokee's remote is suitably rugged, having survived a few trips through the washing machine, but I've accidentally unlocked it a few times too. False panic alarms are not an issue - the remote's been "fixed" with my x-acto. Now, how about a multi-car, multi-brand remote?
On my old Citroen, the key fob was an infra-red link. You had to point it at the car. Once it was in your pocket or bag, the sensor couldn't see the fob and there was no possibility of a false activation. Amazing how technology has improved!
It would be easy for a remote to have an enable button, or some other lockout feature - though i'm thinking that would confuse the typical driver resulting in many "my remote doesn't work" complaints.
One solution is to keep those supermarket 'club' cards next to the remote, so when it's in your pocket the buttons are covered. This greatly reduces the opportunity for an accidental button press.
Hey, just make a tiny hard case for the remote - I can see it next to the impulse items now.
I agree, the people who write firmware for these simple key fobs could learn a lesson from the cell phone guys about locking & disabling button functions.
We've all experienced the "pocket call" or "purse call" with our cell phones -- a minor annoyance in most cases. But the consequences can be much more severe with accidental activation of a car's key fob functions.
In addition to your example of the windows being down all night, a much more obvious one comes to mind -- accidental remote starting of the car, which could lead to theft, overheating, or at least a substantial waste of gasoline.