Ford Looks to Put Biometrics In Cars

Toyota isn’t the only motor company looking to integrate biometrics in to the largest and fastest mobile device you keep in your garage. Patently Apple – a website that reports on patents filed by Tim Cook’s Cupertino company – has come across a new invention from Ford’s Global Technologies division that would see fingerprint sensors used as access control for automobiles.


Toyota will be demonstrating automotive biometrics at next week’s Meeting of the Minds summit in Detroit.

Patently Apple describes Ford’s biometric interface as operating on iOS, a choice directly related to the fact that the automotive company is listed as one of Apple’s CarPlay partners. The system will see biometric fingerprint sensors working in the resulting car’s steering wheel instead of the traditional ignition key. Multiple sensors will combine with a heart rate sensor as a form of multifactor authentication and liveness detection.

The Ford patent extends to the driver seat as well, and Patently Apple speculates that this might measure a driver’s vital signs.

Biometrics and cars are growing increasingly popular. Toyota’s Driver Awareness Research Vehicle – the DARV 1.5 – uses custom biometric software from Infosys and the Microsoft Kinect to create a driver lock-in function that limits access based on a user’s body frame. Meanwhile, the Toronto-based Bionym is getting ready to launch it’s Nymi wristband which will be able to act as a proximity-based key that authenticates drivers based on their unique EKG readings.

This last example goes to show that the biometric car space is not just limited to built-in features. In fact, a recent report from ABI Research says that wearable tech will be playing a much larger role in driver-car interfacing within the next five years.