LAS VEGAS -- In a car-sharing economy, how does a vehicle recognize which motorist is in the driver's seat?
Judging by Chrysler's Portal electric minivan concept, the answer may be facial recognition.
The Portal, which debuted this month at the CES technology expo here, featured a camera behind the steering wheel that scans the motorist's face.
After the initial scan, the vehicle would maintain a profile that includes the motorist's favorite radio stations, seat position, address book, calendar, etc.
Panasonic Automotive developed the system with Sensory Inc., a Santa Clara, Calif., company that supplies facial- and voice-recognition software for mobile phones, tablets and laptops.
"The technology has been proven out in millions of Android phones," said Don Turner, Panasonic Automotive's associate director of advanced engineering. "Fiat Chrysler is evaluating it, and we are showing pieces of this solution to other automakers."