TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- It’s often said that cars are turning into smartphones on wheels.
Continental is taking that comparison a step further.
The supplier is using the CAR Management Briefing Seminars to showcase its latest biometrics technology, which lets drivers unlock and start their car with their face, fingerprint or voice commands — just like the newest cellphone.
Continental’s tech is meant to provide an extra layer of safety for drivers and passengers. For example, someone would need to scan their fingerprint on a particular button or speak a password through a voice recognition system to start the car, even when they have a working key.
Getting into the car in the first place could involve standing in front of the driver-side door so a camera on the sideview mirrors can recognize their face and unlock the vehicle. Infrared cameras would ensure the car can “see” its occupants even at night.
Once the car recognizes the driver, it would automatically adjust the seat position and interior temperature according to personalized settings.
“The access system functions almost like a doorman, allowing us to control specific components as they are needed,” says Andreas Wolf, head of Continental’s body and security business unit.
There are risks, to be sure. But smartphone companies such as Apple and Samsung have proved that biometrics are reliable and accepted by the pubic, at least on a pocket-sized device that costs a few hundred dollars. It remains to be seen if customers be as accepting on a $50,000 vehicle.