Thursday, April 25, 2013

Goodbye passwords, hello biometrics

Let's face it — passwords suck.

Every day we have to recall all manner of alphanumeric combinations for bank PINs, network log-ons, corporate email, social networking, and e-commerce. According to Microsoft Research, the average user types eight passwords per day.

During a talk at last year's SAE Convergence, Joseph Carra from the US Department of Transportation said, “Passwords have to go” ... a breath of fresh air for those of us who rely heavily on the "forgot password" option. The stage is set, according to Carra, for biometrics to replace passwords in the vehicle.

Using biometrics for driver preferences is nothing new — my favorite example is a car seat that can identify you by the shape of your butt — but using them to replace passwords makes perfect sense.

Ultrasound fingerprinting, iris scans, facial recognition, signature dynamics, voice recognition, keystroke dynamics, hand geometry, skin patterns, and foot dynamics are already being used in enterprise security, law enforcement, border control, ATM transactions, and so on. And second-gen biometrics promise to pump up the Sci-Fi factor with neural wave analysis, electro-physiological biometrics, skin luminescence, body odor, and so on.

Many technologies eventually find their way into the car after becoming popular elsewhere — mobile telephony, media players, GPS navigation, etc. I can’t think of too many world-changing technologies that got their start inside the car. But given the innovative trajectory of today’s auto industry, that may be about to change.

1 comment:

  1. Biometrics - a car seat to identify you by your butt? really? (you must be J-Lo with an insured buttocks or never work out where that area CAN and will change).

    Biometrics done right:

    Identify you with your BB10 smartphone and finger tips from the moment you pull on the door handle (unlock car door).

    Adjust seat comfort, angle, and lumbar support ...
    Adjust Steering column angle and telescopic length...
    Adjust driver temperature based on weather outside, length of time car was parked locked/off/last time you where in the car for more than 5mins ...

    ^ all of that done in at the VERY moment you place your hands on the steering wheel - finger print touch sensors, or even shifter finger print sensors.

    Ability to have an infrared retina scan to determine eye focus and determine blood alcohol content. Failed Ignition or failed gear engagement (Remains in Park & Neutral) if determined your drunk and offers to call a local cab with address - using the newly launched call a cab/taxi applications beginning to flourish. The car doesn't turn on ignition unless an emergency call or temperature rise is required and done via voice recognition (?? A consideration).

    This is biometrics done properly.