Car thefts have been a problem ever since the inception of the automobile, but one company is trying their best to get rid of this nuisance once and for all. That company is Eyelock, and they are currently developing a camera-based system that identifies drivers by scanning their eyes.
Yes, that’s right. Just by placing a small scanner in the visor or on the rear-view mirror, drivers can be confident that their vehicles won’t be accessed by anyone else– that is unless thieves go all Simon Phoenix from Demolition Man.
So, how does it work? Well, with a quick glance, an infrared scanner uses an algorithm and code to interpret 240 unique properties found in the iris of the human eye– which, by the way, is more unique than the human fingerprint. Once confirmed, drivers can then fire up their car and be off to where they’re going.
“If a vehicle can definitively identify a car’s owner before it allows entry and operation, it removes the possibility of theft,” said Karl Brauer, senior analyst at Kelley Blue Book, in an interview with Autoblog. “The price of biometric technology is dropping, as seen by its recent arrival in the cell-phone market. Automobiles, along with home security systems, are the next logical application of this technology.”
This, of course, has been a technology that has long been in the works. In fact, EyeLock has been producing eye-scanning security equipment since 2007 and has since been used by high-level financial firms and prisons across the country.
However, it was just last month that the company unveiled an automotive concept at the Detroit Auto Show, having it featured on one of the show’s 3D printed cars.
In a press release following the event, EyeLock said, “At least one manufacturer is planning to incorporate EyeLock as an ignition lock, to identify frequent users and automatically tailor the user experience (seats, mirrors, infotainment preferences, etc.) to the user.”
“Usage-based insurers like Progressive are also interested in knowing which family members are driving at what times. Lending your car to friends would be trickier, requiring authenticating their eyes to the car, but a valet mode with greatly reduced vehicle functionality, limited speed, etc. would negate the need to do that. The system can see through glasses and colored contacts, not counting spooky Halloween ones that obscure the iris.”
Pretty freaky, right? Obviously, a lot of great things can come from this technology, but what are the possible downsides? Well, while sounding like a complete conspiracy theorist, I’m just going to say that I’m not the biggest fan of vehicles (or anything really) having such detailed, intimate information about me. I mean, who knows… this thing may soon be able to track my moods and one day– once technology is even more advanced– be able to read my thoughts.
But hey, maybe I’m just entertaining the conspirator side of my nature a bit too much.