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Bench Talk for Design Engineers

Bench Talk


Bench Talk for Design Engineers | The Official Blog of Mouser Electronics

Iris Biometric Authentication and Your Car Justin Risedorf

Most drivers develop somewhat of a fondness for their vehicles. It’s not always a deep love affair, but definitely a fondness. Whether or not the particular model they are currently driving is their favorite (the proverbial car or truck of their dreams), they almost always end up having a genuine sense of attachment. That’s a very normal feeling, seeing as most vehicles take a considerable amount of investment of money and time. So, it stands to reason that when someone’s car is stolen, they tend to take it rather personally. It is usually talked about in terms of “feeling violated” and other similar comments. 


That feeling of loss and violation being what it is, the desire to secure vehicles has helped drive an industry. That industry includes security systems designed to keep vehicles from being stolen, as well as tracking systems that can make it much easier to recover the vehicle after it’s stolen. When you look at the stats, it's easy to see that we need far more than locked doors and noisy alarms to protect our cars.


Here are the numbers from the latest Federal Bureau of Investigation report:


* An estimated 699,594 thefts of motor vehicles occurred nationwide in 2013

* In the U.S. one vehicle is stolen every 45.1 seconds

* More than $4.1 billion was lost nationwide to motor vehicle thefts in 2013


Source: FBI Uniform Crime Report (2013)


So, what can a person do to protect against vehicle theft, and protect what rightfully belongs to them? 


image source: https://www.eyelock.com

For starters, there is a new technology that provides great protection and is rather fascinating. Iris biometric authentication has been tested and researched for various applications during the last few decades with its origins dating back to 1892 and early studies of iris patterns in humans. Fast forward from then to now, and a company has introduced this technology in a vehicle. Voxx International showed a 2015 Jeep Wrangler that had implemented iris biometric technology from a company called EyeLock. This technology enabled operation only after an eye scan. Due to the myriad of unique facets in the iris of a person, it has been suggested that the odds of a false ID with this technology are 1 in 2.25 trillion. Only DNA can provide a more accurate authentication of identification. 


The breakthrough technology can discern more than 240 unique areas in each eye, and could be installed to protect intruders from getting into a vehicle or before allowing an ignition to be started. Not only does this technology apply to security features, but individual drivers could connect their preferred settings to their very own eye scan, which would come in very handy when a vehicle has multiple drivers. Imagine using the eye scan, and immediately your seat and mirrors move as the stereo is tuned to your favorite station. Another fascinating area of potential use is the ever expensive world of auto insurance. Iris biometric technology would also make gathering specific driver information much more precise. Insurance companies could clearly determine that while you do have a teenage driver using the vehicle, that teenager actually has very safe and steady driving habits.


Whether this technology will dramatically curb or actually end vehicle theft is yet to be seen. However, each step to develop more secure features that are nearly impossible to get around is a step of forward progress. And, each such step brings with it new and exciting possibilities.

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Justin is a contributing author who loves to read and write about the advancements of technology and robotics. When not at work, you can find him conquering Risk and Catan or on an adventure with his wife and kids. Last Father's Day he received a #1 dad shirt, so now that's official.

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