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07 Intelligent Key - Recall?

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Old 05-25-2007, 03:46 PM
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DETROIT (Reuters) - Nissan North America (7201.T: Quote, Profile, Research has a warning for customers: placing your electronic key too close to your cellphone could leave you stranded.

The automaker is asking customers driving new models of two of its flagship sedans to keep their car keys and cellphones at least an inch apart to avoid disabling the "intelligent keys."

Cellphones kept near Nissan's I-Keys -- wireless devices designed to allow drivers to enter and start their cars at the push of a button -- can erase the electronic code on the keys, rendering them unable to unlock or start the cars.

The problem has occurred on the 2007 Nissan Altima and Infiniti G35 sedans -- two of their top-selling models, the company said on Thursday.


"We discovered that if the I-Key touches a cellphone, outgoing or incoming calls have the potential to alter the electronic code inside the I-Key," Nissan spokesman Kyle Bazemore said.

"The car won't start and the I-Key cannot be reprogrammed," he added.

The problem has occurred in a "very small percentage" of cars sold, Bazemore said. He also said a new version of the I-Key would be available in the fall.

Bazemore said current owners have been notified of the potential glitch via mail and can get new keys from dealers if they encounter the problem.
Old 05-25-2007, 06:55 PM
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This just seems odd, if something as common as a cell phone signal can erase the programing on the key than why hasn't it happened more.

I would hazard to guess that anyone with a G35 owns a cell phone. Why has this only happened to a small few then, with the amount of times a cell phone is used and placed on close proximity tot he key this should be happening all over the place, and it should be repeatable.

And why can't it be reprogrammed? this to me sounds like some sort of hardware (ie, chip, resistor, capacitor, PCB) failure.

We have a Murano with an I-key and I keep my cell phone (which will send any speaker into some strange vibration seizure when getting a call) right next to it, and it's signal has never made the key stop working. Are the components in my Nissan Murano IKey that much different then the G or Altimas I Key?

I just have a hard time believing it has anything to do with cell phones. Does anyone know of a detailed explanation on how the cell signal can completely disable the key?
Old 05-26-2007, 04:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigred14
I just have a hard time believing it has anything to do with cell phones. Does anyone know of a detailed explanation on how the cell signal can completely disable the key?
The engineers haven't determined which cell phones are causing problems with the i-key but apparently it's not ALL cell phones in general. There is a specific frequency generated by certain phones when receiving calls that transmits a radio frequency to the key that scrambles its program. You know that sound that some speakers make when cell phones are close by and you're about to receive a call? It sounds like a scrambled sequence of static that speakers can pick up. The i-key has a transmit/receive radio chip that communicates with the car. Basically the key "listens" for the car to send it a radio signal from its proximity sensors and vice versa. If another device can transmit a similar but meaningless signal via radio to the i-key - the key can mistakenly think it's being reprogrammed and allows the false radio signal to rewrite its code. Once it's rewritten, then the car will no longer recognize the code in the key.

You can read more about the Siemens VDO technology in the i-key from here:
Old 05-26-2007, 08:06 AM
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Originally Posted by d12a60n
The engineers haven't determined which cell phones are causing problems with the i-key but apparently it's not ALL cell phones in general. There is a specific frequency generated by certain phones when receiving calls that transmits a radio frequency to the key that scrambles its program. You know that sound that some speakers make when cell phones are close by and you're about to receive a call? It sounds like a scrambled sequence of static that speakers can pick up. The i-key has a transmit/receive radio chip that communicates with the car. Basically the key "listens" for the car to send it a radio signal from its proximity sensors and vice versa. If another device can transmit a similar but meaningless signal via radio to the i-key - the key can mistakenly think it's being reprogrammed and allows the false radio signal to rewrite its code. Once it's rewritten, then the car will no longer recognize the code in the key.

You can read more about the Siemens VDO technology in the i-key from here:
Makes sense, I'll have to read up on that. It only explains half of it though. If the signal is simply reprogramming it, then the Key should be able to be reprogrammed with the correct signal. If the Key cannot be reprogrammed then the cell signal has to do something more then just reprogram it.
Old 05-26-2007, 09:50 AM
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I wonder if any of these issues are related in any way to RFID security design in an effort to thwart hacking and reverse engineering of the device. Since those affected have a FOB that can't be reprogrammed. Maybe a virtual self destruct in response to a perceived brute force/DOS attack from the cell signal. Just a thought and probably not anywhere in the ballpark.
Old 05-26-2007, 12:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigred14
If the Key cannot be reprogrammed then the cell signal has to do something more then just reprogram it.

I think you're right. Well being an elec engineer, I can tell you that it may not not even be a matter of simply reflashing or rewriting the code - I'm just thinking off the top of my head. Who knows what this cell signal does to this chip - (If some one can tell me what this chip is, I can look at the data sheets and tell you). I'm guessing it's putting the chip in a permanent data loop that no longer accepts incoming signals or triggers a security code feature in the chip to lock out certain radio signals. But until those engineers do some reverse FCC testing with some phones and probe the data IO of that part, then we can't really tell how it's causing that chip to lock.
Old 05-26-2007, 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by treacherous
I wonder if any of these issues are related in any way to RFID security design in an effort to thwart hacking and reverse engineering of the device.
^ That's a very very valid theory ^ I'm guessing with it being a wireless device, security is one of the major factors in design. So maybe with all their security methods in place, they forgot one major loop hole with the cell signals
Old 05-26-2007, 01:13 PM
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I would still rather it be *more* secure than less so - even if I do have to think about the cell phone thing.
Old 05-26-2007, 08:30 PM
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This is everywhere now, do a search for intelligent Key and this letter from Nissan comes up on most of the links.

And everyone that knows I ordered my G have been telling me about it.

At least they say there will be a fix in the fall.
Old 05-26-2007, 09:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigred14
This is everywhere now, do a search for intelligent Key and this letter from Nissan comes up on most of the links.

And everyone that knows I ordered my G have been telling me about it.

At least they say there will be a fix in the fall.

Don't sweat it! I'm just careful to keep phone and fob apart. Other than that I don't think about it. There are so many more pros than cons to this vehicle.
Old 05-28-2007, 07:03 PM
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It's official now. This really is "news" as it's finally made slashdot:



Fess up, who's the person trying to slashdot setemail.ru
Old 05-28-2007, 07:50 PM
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Originally Posted by dopey
It's official now. This really is "news" as it's finally made slashdot:



Fess up, who's the person trying to slashdot setemail.ru

That'd be me :P
Old 05-30-2007, 09:17 AM
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Old 05-30-2007, 06:55 PM
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That looks just like the ikey my Murano has, can anyone confirm thats what the G35 key looks like?

If so I wonder why it is isolated to just Altimas and G35's
Old 05-30-2007, 07:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigred14
That looks just like the ikey my Murano has, can anyone confirm thats what the G35 key looks like?

If so I wonder why it is isolated to just Altimas and G35's
And what about the G35 Coupe? My ikey looks the same as well. How is it that this only affects the sedans?

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