17 Sep 21

Soon, your face will be the key that opens the car

The Genesis GV60 is an EV of technological firsts, from wireless charging to face recognition. Yes, you can unlock the GV60 with nothing more than the business side of your head. Will other OEMs follow suit? 

Launched this August, the GV60 (pictured) is both an SUV and a BEV, the first dedicated electric vehicle by Hyundai’s luxury brand Genesis. In the crowded field of new EVs, the GV60 aims to dazzle with some high-tech innovations.

Face Connect

For instance, it’s the first globally marketed EV factory-fitted for wireless charging – although that option will only be offered in South Korea, for the time being. Wireless charging sounds like the perfect solution for many of the charging infrastructure issues the EV sector faces today; but most experts agree the technology is not advanced enough for general use… yet.

But the luxury crossover has another innovation going for it – face recognition. The Genesis GV60’s ‘Face Connect’ technology can recognise human faces, and that recognition can be set to open (and close) the doors of the vehicle. ‘Face Connect’ uses a Near-Infra-Red camera, which also works at night and in other low-visibility circumstances. 

Fingerprint Authentication

What’s more, when the vehicle recognises a saved face, it will apply the settings saved under that profile. This may include seat height and inclination, steering wheel and side mirror position, infotainment settings, and more.  

The GV60 still features a key, but thanks to ‘Face Connect’, you don’t have to bring it everywhere – you can just leave it in the car. And you don’t even need that key to start the car: Genesis has a ‘Fingerprint Authentication System’ that will allow the driver (or somebody who has the driver’s finger) to start the vehicle.

Face recognition is one of those science-fictiony things that once seemed far-fetched. Now it’s here, and already used widely for unlocking smartphones. Cars are next, and the potential gains are enormous, not just in terms of convenience and personalisation, also when it comes to theft prevention and safety. 

Extra layer of safety

In 2020, car theft amounted to $6 billion in the U.S. alone. Face recognition is the extra layer of safety that could prevent a lot of those incidents – persons with an ‘unrecognised’ face would simply not be allowed to start the car.

Beyond theft issues, face recognition can come with a variety of permissions, such as a limit on speed or driving time. The system could also be linked to face tracking and face analysis software, which is already in use by some telematics providers to gauge the driver’s state of alertness and other potential safety issues. 

Eight faces

Genesis may be first to market face recognition on a global scale, but other OEMs have already implemented the technology. GM uses its own Modus Biometric System in China, allowing Cadillac X4 drivers to use their face to open their car. The GM system can store up to eight faces – Face Connect only two.

Both Genesis is keen to expand the technology across its entire model range, and GM is considering importing its system, which also includes a touchscreen and a fingerprint reader, into the U.S. So, take good care of your face. Soon you will need it to open your car.

Image: Genesis

Authored by: Frank Jacobs