Advancements in automobile biometrics, AI continue full speed ahead
SenseTime is taking a detour from facial recognition into an AI system that detects manufacturing defects, Hyundai’s Genesis was awarded by a Canadian automobile media association for a fingerprint reader and passenger radar, and the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) explores how radar and cameras in cars can enhance safety through biometrics.
SenseTime to aid automakers with AI
A report by the South China Morning Post says that AI and facial recognition firm SenseTime is expanding into the auto manufacturing industry by providing an AI platform that assists workers through detecting flaws in engine components.
The company says it launched an AI-powered engine defect detection system with its proprietary industrial quality inspection training platform named SenseSpring for use by Beijing Foton Cummins Engine. The automated system uncovers surface and assembly defects in key engine components, which frees human workers from devoting time to tedious inspection work, SenseTime claims.
SenseTime joins other Chinese technology companies that are taking steps into the Chinese auto industry. Huawei and Baidu joined the country’s $19 billion electric car boom, while Alibaba seeks to grow into the automated driving field along with its electric vehicle ambitions. The Morning Post says China’s industry inspection market reached $142 million in 2020, driven by Baidu, Huawei, Alibaba, and AInnovation.
Hyundai’s Genesis recognized by Canadian auto media for biometric features
The Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC) awarded Hyundai’s Genesis with accolades for technical innovation and safety innovation for its in-vehicle fingerprint biometrics reader and radar-based rear occupant alert.
Genesis says the radar-based rear occupant alert detects motion in the rear seat and cargo area, which differentiates it from other similar features that only sense weight. It claims to be sensitive enough to detect a sleeping child’s chest moving as they breathe, and will raise an alarm if a person is left behind in the vehicle through audio and visual alerts.
Its in-vehicle fingerprint reader registers a driver through a biometric scan on a multimedia screen that can set a profile that remembers features and preferences. Genesis lists vehicle settings that are remembered like mirrors and seat position; head-up-display position and preferences; radio/audio presets; Bluetooth data; and climate control and vehicle settings.
The automaker says the fingerprint scanner “marks the start of in-vehicle, biometric technology,” with future opportunity to expand the technology’s capabilities and functions.
Lawrence Hamilton, executive director for Genesis Motors Canada says about the recognition, “We are honoured to accept these awards from AJAC, and grateful to the judging panel for their time to conduct comprehensive assessment and analysis of these advanced safety and convenience features.”
Global automobile association sees future for biometrics in cameras and radar inside and outside a vehicle
Though cameras and radars are considered a placeholder for more advanced technologies like lidar in the advanced driver assist systems (ADAS) field, industry experts quoted by the SAE say that their applications are far from complete, with potential for further biometrics inclusion.
Lidar, a technology that emits lasers which are measured for their time to return to the sensor to form a 3D image, is viewed as the future for ADAS according to some in the auto industry. But figures cited by SAE say that improvements in cameras and radar can keep up with the field.
“I think the majority of the industry is looking at lidar as it brings something to the party that’s unique, but we’re now seeing sensors that are starting to compete with each other for the same space. When we had standard-resolution radar and lower-resolution cameras, then lidar was the high-resolution solution everybody saw on the horizon. Those three sensors were seen to work cooperatively,” says Phil Amsrud, a senior principal analyst at IHS Markit.
For automated driving, Amsrud says cameras inside the vehicle can monitor biometric features like head movements and pupil dilation to ensure that the driver is paying enough attention to take control if needed. He stressed the importance of improving camera performance to adapt with changing light contrasts in situations like emerging from a dark tunnel into a well-lit area.
The development of sophisticated radar systems continues to outpace lidar in cost, complexity, robustness and reliability issues, says Nathan Mintz, co-founder and CEO of Spartan Radar.