LG Electronics is reportedly working on a new biometric ignition system that would allow drivers to start their vehicles with touchless facial expressions or hand gestures. The biometric ignition feature would be part of a more comprehensive in-car camera setup.
In that regard, biometric ignition would essentially represent a new (and expanded) use case for technologies that are already making their way to the market. Facial recognition enables a more personalized driving experience, since the car can recognize authorized drivers and automatically adjust the seat and other settings based on a person’s preferences. Gesture and expression recognition, meanwhile, allows drivers to control various aspects of the in-car experience without taking their eyes off the road.
Such technologies have also been used to improve vehicle safety. Cameras pointed at the driver can watch for signs of drowsiness and distracted driving, while cameras outside the vehicle can spot potential obstacles on the road ahead. Other in-car systems can then step in to try to prevent a possible collision with speed adjustments and lane recommendations.
For its part, LG filed a patent application for a multi-camera biometric authentication system all the way back in 2019. Different cameras would be used to capture different body parts, covering everything from finger and hand gestures to irises and facial expressions. The system could help guard against car theft, since unauthorized individuals would not be able to start the family vehicle.
In the meantime, LG has been working with Cerence to develop a full stack infotainment system and in-car voice assistant. Toyota’s 2022 Land Cruiser and the Genesis GV60 both offer biometric ignition, though the two vehicles deliver the feature with fingerprint sensors rather than facial recognition. The Genesis GV60 does use facial recognition for personalization and to allow people to unlock their vehicles without a key or fob.
January 5, 2022 – by Eric Weiss