inside
The employee magazine
of the Volkswagen brand

Innovation

Kessy opens doors

Keyless Access was the very first assistance system.


The antennas on the car locate the key within a 1.5-meter radius.

Keyless Access has been featured in Volkswagen models for 15 years – longer than any other electronic aid. First introduced in the Phaeton in 2002, today it is standard in almost all models.

Today it’s known by the nickname Kessy. There are two variants of Kessy – Kessy Go and Kessy Access. Kessy Go can be used to start the car, while Kessy Access unlocks and locks the vehicle. It works like this: the driver carries the key a pocket or bag. When they touch the door handle, the vehicle is unlocked. Kessy Access does this. Depending on the version, it can unlock one, two or all doors.

“Kessy’s most important task is to look for a matching key,” explains Christoph Fricke, the man responsible for Kessy in the technical development team at Wolfsburg. Antennas are installed around the vehicle. What Kessy does is use radio signals to ask one simple question: “Key, where are you?” The key “hears” which antenna is “calling” most loudly and responds with its location. It always opens precisely the door in front of which the driver is standing. For this purpose, the key cannot be more than one-and-a-half meters from the vehicle. That makes the system secure because the driver has to be in the vicinity of the vehicle. The key sends commands to the central locking system and the engine immobilizer. “It tells them that they can switch themselves off,” says Fricke.

The expert


Christoph Fricke (27) has been working on the development of Kessy at Volkswagen for almost 18 months. He studied electrical engineering at the Ostfalia University of Applied Sciences in Wolfenbüttel.

Regardless of whether the key is in the luggage compartment, in a jacket on the back seat or in the storage compartment, it’s enough to press the starter button to get going. The prerequisite for this is that the key is located in the vehicle interior. If the battery in the key is ever out of juice and Kessy without power, it’s no problem. The car can also be opened with the key, just like in the olden days. To start the car in that case, the driver holds the key to the dashboard to the right of the steering wheel. Underneath, there’s a coil installed that charges the key with enough energy to suffice for the next start.

The car is locked by the driver touching the associated pressure point on the handle of the driver-side door. Then the blinkers, headlights, rear lights and exterior mirror flash. This signals that the vehicle has been securely locked. 

Another trick is the Grandma function. “Many people want to be absolutely certain that their vehicle is locked,” explains Fricke. After locking the vehicle, they pull the handle again to double-check that the vehicle is indeed locked. But when that happens Kessy would normally unlock the car again. Grandma lets Kessy sleep for two seconds. Only then can the vehicle be opened again.