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Automotive biometrics market sizzles but faces familiar demographic disparity challenge

Cerence joins Nvidia event panel

Busy biometric startup Cerence books 3 big car deals, launches services in March

Electric and autonomous vehicles continue to be growth areas for biometrics, as a startup’s market entry and two new implementations show, but issues raised in other segments could threaten the pace of the self-driving car adoption.

Hungarian startup roboGaze and its face biometrics-based solution for driver authorization and distraction monitoring are profiled by Analytics Insight. The system alerts drivers if drowsiness or distraction is detected, and Co-founder CEO Zoltán Csaba says it is designed to work with affordable hardware for integration into mid-range and low-cost auto segments.

RoboGaze is in the Microsoft Startup Program and the Nvidia Inception program, and is founded by former employees of automotive software startup NNG, which has become a successful global tier 2 supplier, according to the report.

Meanwhile, the UK Law Commission has warned that face biometrics systems used in autonomous vehicles may struggle to work with dark-skinned faces in dark conditions, The Sunday Times reports. The Commission is in the midst of developing the legal framework for self-driving cars.

The warning was one of several related to the functioning of autonomous driving technologies with different demographic groups, including people with disabilities. The Commission said that when approached about the issues, some developers suggested constant, universal equal treatment by autonomous vehicles is impossible, according to the Times.

Air bags were also initially designed to work effectively for men, and therefore posed additional risk to women, children, and the elderly in their early years, the Commission notes.

Mercedes and Geely launch electric sedans with facial recognition

The Mercedes-Benz EQS, the car-maker’s flagship electric sedan, is introducing a fingerprint scanner as a standard feature, along with face biometrics cameras in its display panel, to its 2022 model, Carscoops writes.

The facial recognition system will provide for authentication and a wide range of functions for assistance and comfort, including fatigue monitoring and adjusting mirrors to a pre-set position.

The 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS is expected to reach the North American market this summer.

The Geely Zeekr 001 electric sedan likewise features facial recognition, but to adjust to passenger preferences in this case, according to Explica.

The vehicle, expected to reach sales room in China in October of 2021 and reach international markets in 2022, also includes sensors for automatic door opening, the report says.

Ford secures Mexico digital purchases with biometrics

The Ford Digital Store has launched in Mexico with biometric buyer authentication to enable people in the country to complete the entire process online, reports Ford Authority. At the time of purchase, a biometric process is used to confirm the necessary documents.

Online vehicle sales grew by 81 percent in Mexico in 2019, a Ford representative says, and the company is the first to offer fully digital sales in the country, according to the report.

Cerence presents at Nvidia edge AI event

Cerence VP of Product Christophe Couvreur will join a panel discussion on ‘Edge Computing for AI/ML Workloads in Automotive’ at Nvidia GTC 21.

The panel also includes representatives of Nvidia, VMWare and Akridata, and will discuss near-edge computing infrastructure for latency-sensitive apps, which could Cerence’s voice biometric technology, and consider scale and cost optimization, according to the announcement.

The company is also planning participation in the Project Voice Council of 100, the International VDI Conference: Future of AI in Automotive, The Voice of the Car Summit, and the Automotive HMI, UX & Connectivity Summit during April and May.

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