BMW car key works like a credit card, wows your friends

I suspect that most people who buy a swanky new BMW, find that it can be a useful way to impress friends and co-workers, but one that doesn't work too well if it's parked deep in some garage. Now BMW wants to give you an excuse for flashing around your car keys, even when you're nowhere near the car.

The smart key incorporates a chip that lets it work like a credit card, so you can pay for dinner, while explaining to your date that you're not being asked to surrender your car for failing to pay the bill. Far from being a one trick pony, the smart key can also communicate with the car's electronics, to automatically adjust the seat and mirror positions, set the radio to your favorite stations, and even unlock the car's personalized online functions such as e-mail and navigation.

While just a prototype for now, BMW says the smart key could become available as soon as next year.

eXpertMotor.com, via T3 The Gadget Website