The remote control override was one of the inventions created by Dr. Emmett Brown to assist in the operation of the second DeLorean time machine. It allowed the user to send a signal to the DeLorean, which would then move itself to the user's physical — and later temporal — location.
When trapped on the penthouse floor of Marcus Irving's laboratory in 1997, Doc used the device to call the DeLorean — which Irving had stored in the basement — to their current location, allowing them to escape. The DeLorean seemed to disregard any obstacles it encountered on the way, having broken through a section of wall.
After this event, Doc upgraded the device for future use, adding temporal functionality so that he could summon the DeLorean from whichever time period it was in. This became useful on May 10, 1986, when he found the DeLorean was missing, taken to 1972 by Marty McFly and Marcus Irving. The DeLorean left 1972 and returned to 1986, which confused Marty and Irving, as they assumed the car had been stolen.
Behind the scenes
- It is likely that the command for the DeLorean to return is sent as a sub-ether transmission, which allows communication across temporal distances.