Chevrolet announced that it will include a new Valet Mode in the 2014 Impala that will lock the infotainment system and also provide a storage area behind the touchscreen to secure belongings. Many vehicles have a locking glove box, and some Ram Trucks even have locking storage bins in the bed that automatically lock and unlock with the doors. This system would be the first of its known kind that provides password security to protect your belongings left in the car.
To activate the security system, the user taps a 4 digit code into the infotainment system via the touchscreen. This will lock the system from unauthorized use and provide the user with access to the storage bin. Since the electronics for the infotainment system are stored elsewhere in the vehicle, the space behind the screen is available.
Chevrolet believes that this system will appeal to a younger generation who value privacy, since access to their address book and GPS history (in the car’s software) will be locked. Also, extra storage is always appreciated in a vehicle, and a place to secure the higher-dollar belongings should be a welcome addition.
Vehicle security is a problem that manufacturers and aftermarket companies have been looking to solve since the introduction of the automobile. It is often advised that people with portable GPS units remove the device from the vehicle to prevent break-ins. However, people often just stash the GPS in the glove box. A trained thief will see the residue of the suction cups on the windshield, assume that it is still in the vehicle, and break in anyway. If Chevrolet’s system becomes mainstream, even just in Chevy vehicles, thieves will be able to recognize that system and may break in anyway. Anyone who has had their car stereo stolen knows how easy it is to get any system out of a vehicle, regardless of how integrated it is.
Time will tell how well people receive this system. But if successful, other manufacturers will undoubtedly follow suit with their own.