There is probably no more reliable way to identify individuals than via fingerprints, which are unique to each person. Fingerprint recognition technologies are already in use in a number of fields, including on many smartphone.
The automotive domain is set to join that number. Hyundai is set to be the first out of the gate, as it has just introduced the version of its 2019 Santa Fe destined for the Chinese market equipped with a fingerprint access system.
So equipped, the vehicle can be unlocked via sensors placed on the door handles, which recognize the owner’s fingerprints. It can also be started using fingerprint recognition. The technology is not new per se, but its use on the exterior door handles of a vehicle will be a first, and it’s also the first time a mass-market product receives such a system.
As for the sensor, Hyundai says the chance that it will fail to accurately read fingerprints is minute, along the lines of 50,000-to-1. On top of just reading the actual fingerprint of a finger, it will also be able to identify other elements like the level of electricity inside a finger, making unauthorized entry that much more difficult.
What about family members of vehicle owners? Several sets of fingerprints can be registered on each vehicle. Even better, the vehicle will know to adjust certain interior parameters like the seats and side-view mirrors according to the person entering.
Hyundai is putting a ton of effort into establishing itself on the Chinese market, and it’s betting that this technology, among others, will help it win over more consumers.
For the moment, the technology is not scheduled to be introduced in North America, but there’s little doubt that eventually it will be, and that our fingerprints (not to mention retinas) will be used to access all kinds of devices, machines and gadgets.